News Release - Robert J. Bergin Named City Corporation Counsel

City of Rochester

News Release

City Corporation Counsel Robert Bergin(Tuesday, July 26, 2011) – Mayor Thomas S. Richards today announced his selection of Robert J. Bergin to be the City’s Corporation Counsel. Mr. Bergin is an attorney with 37 years of experience representing public and private clients in New York State courts and before state agencies and the state legislature. His professional highlights include serving as the Assistant General Counsel, Director of Public Affairs for New York State Electric and Gas Corporation – Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation (subsidiaries of Iberdrola USA, Inc.). Mr. Bergin also worked as the Counsel to the Minority of the New York State Senate and ran a private general law practice locally for 26 years.

“Bob has not only extensive legal experience, he is well-versed in government and legislative affairs, community relations and communications,” said Mayor Richards. “I was seeking a Corporation Counsel who was able to fill a broader role for the City and in Bob Bergin, we have found that person. The City is very fortunate that Bob has chosen to take part in Rochester’s revitalization.”

“I am honored and excited about this opportunity to serve the City. In the many years that I have worked as a lawyer in private practice, in government and in business I have had the opportunity to work with great leaders. Mayor Richards is exceptional in that regard. I am looking forward to assisting him with realizing the objectives he has articulated for the City.”

Mayor Richards will take advantage of Mr. Bergin’s experience working with governments by asking him to provide leadership on the City’s relationships in Washington and Albany. “I am a true believer in government and what people want and have a legitimate right to expect from it,” said Mr. Bergin.

The City’s Corporation Counsel supervises the City’s Law Department staff, which includes 12 municipal attorneys. The Department provides legal advice to City Council, the Mayor, City departments, boards and agencies and prepares and interprets contracts and assists in labor negotiations and collective bargaining. Other responsibilities of the Law Department include drafting local laws and ordinances and reviewing proposed N.Y. State legislation affecting the City.

The Department also researches N.Y. State and federal legislation, handles acquisition, management and disposal of properties and represents the City in civil, criminal and bankruptcy proceedings. It also implements legal remedies to address quality of life and nuisance abatement issues.

Mr. Bergin has been the Director of Public Affairs for NYSEG and RG&E since 2003. He was responsible for both corporations’ government affairs, community relations, corporate communications, advertising and economic development. He represented both companies in Albany on key issues impacting regulated utilities in New York State. He also reorganized and integrated the public affairs functions of Iberdrola USA, Inc. subsequent to its acquisition of Energy East Corporation. As General Counsel for RG&E from 2000 to 2003, Mr. Bergin was RG&E’s federal, state and local lobbyist and addressed issues and pending legislation impacting RG&E’s total enterprise capabilities from 1998 to 1999.

Working for the N.Y. State Senate from 1978 to 1994, Mr. Bergin was the principal legal advisor and directed the operations of the Office of Counsel to the Senate Minority. He also served as Deputy Counsel and Assistant Legislative Counsel.

Mr. Bergin, 63, of Fairport, N.Y., earned his Juris Doctor in 1973 from the Albany Law School of Union University and has a B.A. in Political Science from St. John Fisher. He is on the Boards of Directors of the Veterans Outreach Center and St. Ann’s Community and is married with two adult children. He is currently seeking residence in the city and will begin his duties on Aug. 1. His salary will be $123,191. Mr. Bergin’s appointment as Corporation Council must be confirmed by City Council.


News Media: For more information, contact Gary Walker at 428-7405.