Katzoff replaces Kristen Smith who is returning to private practice after four years as Corporation Counsel
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh announced the appointment of Susan Katzoff, a Syracuse attorney with extensive experience in municipal economic development, as Corporation Counsel for the City of Syracuse. Katzoff brings three decades of practice in public finance, economic development incentives, municipal law and bankruptcy law to City Hall. She will replace current Corporation Counsel Kristen Smith who will return to private practice after four successful years leading the city Department of Law.
Katzoff, a member of the Syracuse law firm of Bousquet Holstein PLLC, has represented multiple public and quasi-public entities and municipalities including industrial development agencies, local development corporations and port authorities in public finance transactions throughout New York State. In these areas, Katzoff has advised clients on a variety of governance and compliance issues including the General Municipal Law, the Public Authorities Law and the latest pronouncements and audit findings of the NYS Authorities Budget Office. Additionally, she has served as outside counsel to the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency (SIDA), since 2007.
“Sue Katzoff is widely respected in Syracuse and across New York State for her expertise in local government and economic development. Our residents and city government alike will be served well by Sue. She brings the passion for our city and the capabilities necessary to fulfill the duties of Corporation Counsel,” said Mayor Walsh. “Sue joins a very strong team in the Department of Law, and I have confidence that it will only continue to excel in its work for City Government and our residents under her leadership.”
As Corporation Counsel, Katzoff will lead the Department of Law, which manages the legal affairs of the City of Syracuse. The department handles the City’s litigation, legislative drafting, contracting, real estate transactions, collections and a wide variety of other legal matters. Katzoff succeeds Kristen Smith who is returning to Bond Schoeneck & King, the Syracuse-based firm where she was a partner prior to joining the Walsh administration.
“While I am sad to see her go, I am thankful to Kristen for the time she spent serving the people of Syracuse and for the many contributions she made to our community during her tenure,” said Mayor Walsh. “She has built a strong foundation and provided the resources necessary for a fluid transition for her successor in the Department of Law.”
During her time as Corporation Counsel, Smith Implemented major staffing, organizational and performance improvements to the City’s Law Department and improved responsiveness and efficiency of Freedom of Information Law process. She also made significant contributions to police reform initiatives, including helping to draft Mayor’s Executive Order on Police Syracuse Reform and the City’s response to Governor’s Executive Order on Police Reform and Reinvention. In negotiating the City’s acquisition of its street light network, a critical component of the Syracuse Surge initiative, Smith helped Syracuse achieve designation as New York’s Flagship Smart City.
Smith played key roles in strengthening the City’s approach to housing protection and code enforcement and also led the Law Department’s enactment of the City’s historic lead abatement ordinance. During her tenure, the City also seized the sprawling former Syracuse Developmental Center property on the west side which enabled the City to secure, maintain and prepare the vacant site for productive re-use.
Katzoff has served as a trustee to both the Gifford Foundation and the Downtown Committee of Syracuse. She was appointed trustee to the Volunteers Lawyers Project in 2014 and most recently served as its president in 2020. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and English from the State University of New York at Albany, and her Juris Doctor from St. John’s University School of Law in 1991. Katzoff will maintain an of counsel affiliation with Bousquet Holstein.