Community Peacemaker Award 2013

Hon. Norman I. Siegel

Judge Siegel was nominated by Tracy Soules and Richard Ketcham who write:

Tracy Soules

Nominating Judge Norm Siegel

It is a great honor to have the opportunity to nominate Hon. Norman I. Siegel for the Community Peacemaker Award (individual).  In both his professional and private life he has demonstrated his compassion for others and an outstanding ability to lead and inspire others to practice “mindful living”.  He strives to practice and cultivate “moment-to-moment” awareness of others.  These are just a few of his attributes that give him distinction.

 In his profession as a Supreme Court Justice for the 5th Judicial District of NY he must deal with challenging issues and conflict both on a legal basis and personal basis.  His peaceful demeanor and his kind and common sense are brought into every situation by his actions and his words.  He has a delightful humor that fills the room and puts everyone at ease especially when faced with highly emotional, tense and hostile issues.  Parties thoroughly enjoy appearing before him because he insists on respect and kindness.  Judge Siegel will tirelessly attempt to bring the parties together and guide them toward a resolution.  He has the talent and skills to facilitate communication, clarify issues and generate creative options for a resolution that is tailored to the specific needs and interest of the parties.  He comes in early, stays late and works through lunch when necessary to keep negotiations flowing towards a settlement.  He strongly believes in the benefits of settlement and peaceful, mindful meetings among parties.  Judge Siegel understands that reaching an agreement or a settlement can reduce trauma, cost, and delay to parties and their families and that is one of the reasons he is a true advocate of mediation and collaborative conflict resolutions.  

 On a personal level his desire to help others runs deep in the grain of his personality and beliefs.   His endless acts of mindfulness, kindness and generosity just seem to flow from his mind and body almost automatically.  Judge Siegel takes the time to think about what would bring joy to someone and then he takes action on it.  He is a man full of offers!!  Offering up his time, money, wisdom, humor, advice, material items- just about anything that would help or assist you when in need. 

 Seldom do you run across a man of better temperament.  I don’t believe that many have seen him angry or upset although I’m sure he has had plenty of provocation at times.(Especially from me!)  His mindful thinking makes an appreciable difference in peoples lives everyday.  Here are just a few examples:

 - He is routinely takes friends out to dinner or a ride who generally wouldn’t be able to venture out alone.   

 - He frequently brings special gifts or treats that would give that person a moment of joy and lift their spirits.

-This is from a Thank you note received from a lawyer : (one of many)

"Thank you for your kind words last week.  I particularly liked appearing in your Court as I believe you exhibited a firm hand and compassionate understanding for all those involved."  

 - from a Thank you from a grandmother that appeared before him:

"Thank you for listening to the facts regarding my granddaughter.  I have been struggling with having the basic needs of her met for several years.  Her physical and emotional health have suffered.  Your decision has made it possible for her to have a healthy future in more ways than I have time to explain."


 - Comments made by counsel after a settlement conference:

"we found the experience both challenging and rewarding in that we have learned volumes from his demeanor and methods.  This is an illustration of  how "civil" litigation should proceed!"

 -A thank you from a young man who ran into trouble with the law -- but has now graduated from college and is first in his class in his newly chosen profession:

"I would like to tell you how grateful I am for all that you have done for me.  This is not the first time that you helped me out by listening and offering sound advice.  I am extremely thankful that you did not give up on me.  I can honestly say that I am ready to move on and get my life on track.  You are the one I have to thank for the opportunity to do so."

 - He offers up his Broadway Theater league seats to those that love music and theater but do not have the financial ability to attend.

 -He frequently states “If I can do something nice to bring a little bit of joy to someone- WHY NOT??   These numerous daily acts of kindness are most times made anonymously expecting nothing in return. 

- His ear and heart are open to all and no problem is too small for his thoughtful consideration.  His colleagues and co-workers have turned to him again and again for advice, cooperation and for sacrifices beyond the norm and he always strives to work cooperatively. 

 Words cannot adequately describe all the qualifications Judge Siegel has that represent the Community Peacemaker Award.  It is the daily practice of “ mindful thinking and living” governed by a keen sense of duty and a unique grasp of human problems that makes Judge Siegel distinct.  What makes him outstanding is his willingness and tenacity to inspire and influence others to practice this enlightened thinking to make our community a friendly and wholesome place in which to live for the common good of all! 

Richard Ketcham

It is a pleasure to write a letter of support for the nomination of Judge Norman l. Siegel

for the Community Peacemaker Award.

In February of 2010, Judge Siegel was appointed by the Sisters of St. Francis as the first-ever secular, as Well as the first-ever male, Chairperson of the St. Elizabeth Medical Center (SEMC) Board of Trustees. In his personal conversations with friends, he recognized this historical appointment as an extraordinary opportunity to make a measurable and positive difference for SEMC. At the time of his appointment, no one could have predicted the upcoming challenges of health care reform.

 The challenge of being the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees was not enough. Three months into his role, Judge Siegel Was charged with the significant responsibility of overseeing the transition of another historical leadership change: Sister M. Johanna retired as President/CEO of St. Elizabeth and the Search for a new CEO was opened. It was quickly apparent that the first lay CEO would need to be recruited to lead St.Elizabeth Medical Center.

 Leading the hospital through the cultural change from religious leaders to lay leaders has not been an easy task and Judge Siegel has not taken this task lightly. He grasped his leadership role with open mindedness, his recognition that every person is as important as he, his intellectual habit of thinking things through, his reaching out and accepting of all points of View and by basing decisions on his respect for the doctrines of the Sisters of St. Francis and his passion for the history and future of SEMC.

Judge Siegel provides St. Elizabeth with incalculable hours of his time. In addition to monthly Trustee meetings, monthly committee meetings and monthly subcommittee meetings, he has, for the last 3-plus years, been sighted on Saturday mornings with board members, administrators or politicians voicing his concern over the ever-changing health care reform act and its impact. His Weekday and weekend evenings are often filled with meetings With SEMC doctors and nurses, administrative personnel, potential physician recruits, community leaders and benefactors. Judge Siegel also often Walks through the hospital to check on personal friends or patients Who have befriended SEMC.

 He has educated himself not just on how the hospital works, but how the nation’s most successful hospitals Work. He has demanded excellence and more from the members of the Board of Trustees and from the hospital administration. He willingly shares and offers his experience, his expertise and his counsel to every member ofthe SEMC administration and staff. He does not ask more of others than he asks of himself.

Through his leadership, Judge Siegel has carved a new territory for SEMC; he has crossed invisible boundaries and has been overwhelmingly dedicated to the mission of  the Sisters of St. Francis.

“Purpose, passion and intention to make a difference” describes the character of this great man. He is the compass of the hospital’s journey and I am honored to recommend that he be recognized for his endless hours of dedication and determination in securing the future of SEMC.

 He is a role model with indomitable faith and is a selfless example of service to SEMC. With an all-embracing spirit of moving forward, moral courage and true strength of leadership, it is a pleasure and privilege to nominate him for the Community Peacemaker Award.

Judge Siegel received his Juris Doctor Degree, cum laude, from the Albany Law School and his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Colgate University. He Was a member of the Albany Law Review and Justinian Society.

Judge Siegel has 39 years' experience and was appointed to the New York State Court of Claims in June, 2000. He has served as an Oneida County Attorney, and was appointed by the Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division of the Fourth Department to the Character and Fitness Committee for the Fifth District in 1992. Judge Siegel was appointed to the New York State Supreme Court in December, 2011.

He has served on many community and civic organizations, such as the Utica College Board of Trustees and Executive Committee; Ronald McDonald Charities of Central New York; and as President of the Charles T. Sitrin Home.

Judge Siegel and his Wife, Ann, reside in New Hartford. They are the parents of three children and have six grandchildren.