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Jeff Wise dies; first director of NY Justice Center for disabled

ALBANY

ALBANY _ The first executive director of the state Justice Center to care for the disabled has died after less than three years on the job.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday that Jeff Wise died unexpectedly. No cause of death was reported.

Wise was appointed by Cuomo in March 2013 to head the newly created Justice Center. The center was created after years of complaints by some families that their disabled children — youths and adults — were mistreated, neglected and abused by staff in some of the homes. State action came after a series of New York Times articles about injuries and deaths of the disabled in the state facilities. The Justice Center was created to monitor the care of the disabled in state funded group homes and facilities and to take action against abusive workers.

Wise was unanimously confirmed by the Senate three months after his appointment following a hearing in which many of the organizations that care for the disabled spoke highly of his years of work with the disabled.

“Jeff was a dedicated, exemplary public servant who gave his professional life to the cause of helping those in need,” Cuomo said Monday. “Throughout his career, Jeff worked tirelessly to support vulnerable individuals, including the homeless, people with mental illness, and those with developmental disabilities.”

A lawyer, Wise as a 1987 graduate of Albany Law School and a 1975 graduate of the State University of New York at Potsdam.

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