Advisory Council


The Advisory Council, authorized in the Protection of People with Special Needs Act, provides guidance to the Justice Center in the development of policies, programs, and regulations. The Council is comprised of a minimum of 15 members who are appointed for three-year terms by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Members include service providers, people who have or are currently receiving services, their family members and advocates.  

At least one-half of the members must be individuals or parents or relatives of individuals who are or have received services from programs within the Justice Center’s jurisdiction.

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10-year anniversary advisory council


Council Members

William T. Gettman — Northern Rivers Family of Services (Chair) (Albany County)

Veronica Crawford — Self-Advocate, Care Design NY (Saratoga County)

Norwig Debye-Saxinger — Therapeutic Communities Association (New York County)

Jason Hershberger, M.D. — Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center (Kings County)

Walter J. Joseph, Jr. — Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie (Dutchess County)

Ronald S. Lehrer — NYS Association of Boards of Visitors (Ulster County)

Glenn Liebman — Mental Health Association in New York State (Albany County)

Joseph Macbeth — National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (Albany County)

Thomas McAlvanah — Interagency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies of NY (Westchester County)

Kathy O'Keefe — Pilgrim Psychiatric Center (Suffolk County)

Judith A. O’Rourke — Parent (Erie County)

Harvey B. Rosenthal — NY Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) (Washington County)

Mary K. St. Mark — Parent Advocate (Bronx County)

Jeffrey Savoy — Odyssey House (New York County)

Euphemia Strauchn — Parent, Families on the Move (New York County)


Meeting Dates

  • April 11- 161 Delaware Ave., Delmar
  • June 20- Virtual
  • September 19- 161 Delaware Ave., Delmar


Meeting Summaries



Advisory Council members are eligible to be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred while attending in-person meetings.

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Shannon Cantiello

Chief of Staff

161 Delaware Ave.

Delmar, NY 12054


Advisory Council Recommendations

The Advisory Council is authorized by the Protection of People with Special Needs Act to provide guidance to the Justice Center in the development of policies, programs, and regulations to support the development and implementation of state policies which meet the needs of vulnerable persons and individuals with disabilities in a manner that is respectful of their rights and choices.  All recommendations have been approved unanimously by the Advisory Council.