BALCONY - Business and Labor Coalition of New York
January 25th, 2012


For Immediate Release: January 25, 2012

The Business and Labor Coalition of New York (BALCONY) announced today (Wednesday) that Catherine Abate, President/CEO of Community Healthcare Network, and Robert Hayes, Senior VP of Universal American, have been named new BALCONY co-chairs. They join Alan Lubin, former Senior Executive Vice President of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), to lead the coalition in 2012.

“Catherine Abate and Robert Hayes have strong commitments to improving the economy and social well being of New York State,” Mr. Lubin, founder and labor co-chair of BALCONY, said. “We look forward to their leadership as BALCONY continues to find common ground between business and labor on the public policy debate in our state.”

Ms. Abate is a former New York State Senator from Manhattan (1994-1998) and was Commissioner of the New York City Departments of Correction and Probation in the Dinkins administration. Since 1999, she has been President/ CEO of the Community Healthcare Network, a group of 12 Federally Qualified Health Centers in underserved communities across New York City. She will serve as the non-profit co-chair of BALCONY.

“I am impressed with BALCONY’s commitment to providing health care for all New Yorkers,” Ms. Abate said. “I will seek to add my voice to those who believe everyone in New York has the right to quality and affordable health care.”

Robert Hayes, an attorney, has been Universal American’s senior vice president for health quality since 2009. He led the Coalition for the Homeless from 1979 to 1989 and was president and general counsel of the Medicare Rights Center. Hayes also served as Associate attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell and was Special Counsel at O’Melveny & Meyers. Mr. Hayes is a MacArthur Foundation fellow. He will be BALCONY’s business co-chair.

“BALCONY advocates for the diverse needs of our state and that we must work together to create jobs and a sound economy. I am pleased with the opportunity to serve with Catherine Abate and Alan Lubin to help BALCONY grow and have a positive impact,” Mr. Hayes said.

Mr. Hayes and Ms. Abate replace BALCONY co–founder and business co-chair Bruce Ventimiglia, who had been the business co-chair since BALCONY was formed in 2006. Mr. Ventimiglia is relocating to Arizona, where he will continue to serve as the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Saratoga Capital Management, LLC.

“Bruce was instrumental in the launch and success of BALCONY as he brought the business common sense and common ground approach to our coalition, he will be sorely missed” Mr. Lubin said.

“I am delighted that I had the opportunity to serve BALCONY. BALCONY has worked, and will continue to work, diligently to develop solutions for the major issues that New Yorkers and our fellow Americans are confronted with. It has been a pleasure to serve with my fellow Co-Chair, Alan Lubin, BALCONY’s Director, Lou Gordon, and the BALCONY staff. Alan and I were able to find common ground between business and labor and proposed solutions for many key issues; and, while Alan and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye on issues, Alan approached all of the issues we worked on together with passion, sincerity and integrity. Lou, I am certain, will continue to work tirelessly to build bridges between business and labor to help move the great state of New York forward. I wish Catherine and Robert much success in their new BALCONY roles; they are eminently qualified for their new positions. Finally, I will leave New York with many wonderful memories that have been accumulated over my 21 years here. I look forward to supporting BALCONY from beautiful Arizona, and I wish my fellow New Yorkers peace, prosperity and good health,” Mr. Ventimiglia stated.

BALCONY represents more than 1,000 businesses, non-profits and labor unions seeking common ground in the public policy debate in New York State. BALCONY makes no campaign contributions nor endorses any candidates.