Robert J. Gaffney
Robert J. Gaffney took office as the fourth president of Dowling College on October 1, 2006. Mr. Gaffney served as Suffolk County Executive from 1992 until 2003. Upon retiring from elective office, he was named a partner in the law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C., and involved in many aspects of the firm's practice.
In 1985, Mr. Gaffney was elected to the New York State Assembly, representing the Fourth Assembly District, a district that included the State University of New York at Stony Brook, three major hospitals and numerous health care facilities. While in the State Assembly, he became a recognized leader in matters involving environmental protection, real property taxation, higher education, and many aspects of health care. He served as the ranking Republican member of the Real Property Tax Committee and the Committee on Corrections, as well as serving on the Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Higher Education, Environmental Conservation and the Judiciary. He co-chaired the Assembly Republican Task Force on Crime Victims' Rights.
In 1992, Mr. Gaffney was elected Suffolk County's sixth County Executive, a position he held for twelve years, having been re-elected overwhelmingly in 1995 and again in 1999. He retired from elective office on December 31, 2003. During his three terms as Suffolk County Executive, Mr. Gaffney played a major role in promoting the interests of the Long Island Region on the state and national levels. He served as President of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) from 1994-1995, and as President of the New York State County Executives Association from 1995-1996. His counsel is often sought by local officials as well as officials of other counties throughout the nation in matters of planning, transportation, environmental protection, welfare reform, and fiscal management. He has served on the National Association of Counties (NACO) Large Urban County Caucus. Mr. Gaffney served on the New York Metropolitan Transportation Coordinating Committee from 1992 until 2003 and served as co-chairman from 2002-2003.
Mr. Gaffney, who was featured as a "Long Islander of the Century" by Newsday in 2000, has been a recognized leader in environmental protection and land preservation. He has received honors for his work in this area from The Nature Conservancy, the Peconic Land Trust, the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, and numerous other environmental and land use organizations. He was instrumental in the creation, organization and implementation of the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission and served as its first chairman, a position he held until his retirement from public office in 2003. Under Mr. Gaffney's leadership, hundreds of thousands of acres of environmentally sensitive land in Suffolk County have been preserved.
Long a believer in passing on knowledge to future leaders, Mr. Gaffney has served as an adjunct professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he has taught "Public Policy and Administration" in the Graduate School of Political Science from 2000-2003.
In addition to his responsibilities at Dowling College, Mr. Gaffney also makes time to serve on various boards and committees, including the Long Island Housing Partnership, Peconic Bay Medical Center and the Long Island Association.