CRREO at SUNY New Paltz
Gerald Benjamin joined the faculty at SUNY New Paltz in 1968 as an Assistant Professor of Political Science. He achieved the University's highest rank in 2002 when he was appointed Distinguished Professor by the SUNY Board of Trustees. He has served as Chair of the Department of Political Science, Presiding Officer of the faculty and (for twelve years beginning in 1996) Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Today Benjamin is Associate Vice President for Regional Engagement and Director of the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO) at SUNY New Paltz. CRREO is the principal locus of the college's efforts to raise its level of engagement within communities, governments, not-for-profits and businesses across the Hudson Valley. It seeks to conduct research on regional topics; encourage faculty to build regionally-based service activity into their scholarship and teaching; create and direct institutes and programs to meet regional needs; and offer conferences and programs on matters of regional interest.
Benjamin was director of the Center for the New York State and Local Government Studies at SUNY's Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany (1993-1995). Later he was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo as Research Director of the Temporary State Commission on Constitutional Revision. He also was Principal Research Advisor to the New York City Charter Revision Commission that brought about extensive structural changes in that city's government.
Between 2004 and 2006 Benjamin chaired the Ulster County Charter Commission. The work of this commission resulted in approval at the polls of the county's first charter, which goes into effect in January of 2009. In 2007, Benjamin was appointed by Governor Spitzer to the State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness that this pasts April proposed wide-reaching reforms in local government in New York State.
Between 1981 and 1993 Gerald Benjamin was an elected member of the Ulster County legislature. He served in legislative leadership as both Majority Leader (1985-91) and Chairman (1991-93). Ulster County during this time had no elected executive; the legislative chairman was therefore the County's Chief Elected Officer. Ulster County during Dr. Benjamin's tenure had a budget of $165 million and more than 1300 employees.
Benjamin earned a B.A. with distinction from St. Lawrence University. His Masters (1967) and Doctoral (1970) degrees in Political Science are from Columbia University.