Civil Liberties Stalwarts Honored At Annual Awards Dinner

The Capital Region Chapter on Nov. 12 honored two prominent local advocates for government transparency and accountability at its annual awards dinner in Albany.

Robert Freeman, executive director of the New York State Committee on Open Government, received the Ned Pattison Award and Schenectady Gazette columnist Carl Strock received the Carol S. Knox Award during the dinner, which was held at the Polish Community Center.

Freeman, who co-authored New York’s pioneering Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), leads one of the few government agencies in the United States dealing with open records and freedom of information. The Washington Post has called him, “one of the most widely respected advocates for open government in the country.” He was counsel to the Committee on Open Government at its founding in 1974 and, two years later, became its executive director, a position he has held since.

Strock, who writes his “View from Here” column three times a week, has consistently exposed government malfeasance and corruption. He was an early and persistent advocate for Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, two American citizens from Albany who were targets of the government’s warrantless surveillance program. He has written movingly about the lack of open government in family courts, and has regularly criticized misguided sex-offender registry laws. In 2000, he was one of three finalists for the prestigious Heywood Broun Award, given by the Newspaper Guild to print journalists who expose injustice.

The Knox Award was established in memory of Carol S. Knox, who worked for many as a volunteer attorney for the Capital Region Chapter. She was an associate at Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna and also worked in the New York Attorney General’s office under Robert Abrams.

The Pattison Award celebrates the life and values of Edward W. “Ned” Pattison, who died in 1990 and who is remembered for his deep concern for the poor and the powerless. He represented the 29th Congressional District from 1974 to 1978 and was a consistent voice in support of civil rights and civil liberties.

Robert Freeman, Esq, executive director of the NYS Committee on Open Government and recipient of the Ned Pattison Award.

Steve Gottlieb, Capital Region Chapter board president and Carl Strock, columnist for the Daily Gazette in Schenectady and recipient of the Carol S. Knox Award.

Awards ceremony attendees.

Joanna Palladino, Capital Region Chapter board member and emcee for the awards ceremony.

From left to right, Steve Gottlieb, Joanna Palladino, Dave Decker, Capital Region chapter activist task force member and John Cirrin Capital Region Chapter board member and NYCLU state board member.

Awards ceremony attendees.

Steve Gottlieb