Hon. Sandra Frankel

Meet Hon. Sandra Frankel, Community Leader, Business Executive and Mentor

Sandy FrankelTopics of Expertise

  1. Leadership – Being a willing listener and open to the ideas of others is essential to build consensus and develop loyalty within an organization and with the public (customer). Strategies and styles that lead to successful outcomes will help organizations make progress and, in the private sector, profits.
  2. Running a Successful Organization – There are two basic styles of management that yield different attitudes, motivation, and performance leading to success. The more tradition approach has been a hierarchical, top down structure, which tends to be more rigid in its approach and is modeled on a military structure. This approach has its place based upon the nature of the work to be done, such as law enforcement. An alternative leadership style is based upon a flatter structure that tends to promote creativity and innovation, that learns from failures as well as from successes, and that aligns with mentoring as a model for employee growth and productivity.
  3. Public Policy – Understanding key policy issues is important to business and to individuals as participants in the formulation and implementation of new laws and regulations. A broad perspective on impacts is essential for economic growth and quality of life. Politics is foundational to our democratic system. That’s why it is necessary for organizations and individuals to know the political lay of the land and the how-to of advocacy on issues important to them.
  4. Local Government – Town, villages, cities, school districts, and counties are the governments that are closest to the people, and they have the most direct impact on people’s daily lives. In challenging economic times, it is more important than ever that local governments collaborate and make the tough decisions that will keep them financially sound while still providing the essential services and programs important to the people. Effective communication and active citizen involvement are necessary ingredients to achieve shared goals.
  5. Boardsmanship – Service on a board of directors requires a commitment of time, talent and treasure, i.e. a willingness to fundraise. Board leadership requires an understanding of how to motivate and energize one’s colleagues, how to delegate responsibility, and how to recognize contributions and effort. These insights and skills also can be applied within organizations.
  6. Advocacy in Politics and Government – Organizing an effective campaign to promote a particular position, lobbying, forming partnerships, and citizen involvement take clearly defined strategies, tactics, and resources. Learn the how-to of advocacy that has an impact.
  7. Running an Effective Meeting – The Dos and Dont’s of chairing a meeting can help guide a group towards consensus with a plan of action. In a public meeting scenario, knowing how to handle challenging situations and keeping one’s cool will help the chairperson stay on topic and have a successful outcome.
  8. Energy Self-Sufficiency and Environmental Protection – Cheap, clean energy is essential for economic development and for a healthy planet. Advocates on both sides of the “hydrofracking” issue in New York State, across the country, and around the world are grappling with these competing interests. Can public policy find common ground and achieve balance? Can we develop a comprehensive policy and implement local practices that support the transition from carbon based fuel to sustainable energy? We must find a path to energy self-sufficiency, but in a way that does not pollute the environment and reduces the threat of global warming.
  9. Success Stories of Inter-Municipal Cooperation – One third of New York’s local governments have come together through the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal to save money on property and liability insurance and risk management services, to offer coverage designed to meet the unique needs of municipalities, and to ensure stability in an otherwise cyclical and sometimes volatile insurance industry. The New York State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness developed data and insights about other types of shared services, consolidations, and cooperation that can save taxpayer dollars and deliver better services, mindful that one size does not fit all. Not-for-profit organizations with similar missions are also beginning to work together as a result of difficult economic times and fundraising challenges. With creativity, innovation, and a willingness to consider and test new ideas, private and public sector organizations can improve their bottom line and customer satisfaction.
  10. Women’s Issues and Diversity in the Workplace – Women comprise 51 percent of the population of the United States, yet the number of women in elective office, on corporate boards, and as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies still falls significantly short. In 2010, women working full time in the USA earned just 77 percent on average of what men earn. Women of color experienced an even wider gap. Although women have made strides, there is still much to be done. Even with good intentions, diversifying an organization and ensuring pay equity can be a challenge. What strategies work, what training is needed, and what timeline is reasonable? How does diversity improve the bottom line? Advertising sends a message about the culture of an organization, and diversity must be part of that message in today’s global economy. What does your organization’s outreach look like?
  11. Education and the Economy – Without a path to educational success for all of our children, our nation’s economic future and security are in peril. That’s why we must invest in programs that make a positive difference for children and their families, and why “it takes a village” to have educational success and economic vitality.


As an experienced community leader, business executive and mentor, Sandra Frankel has successfully implemented planning, problem solving, creativity, and innovation within organizations to achieve shared goals and successful outcomes. Sandy welcomes the opportunity to work with organizations to advance their goals for success.

During Sandy’s 30 years of leadership experience, she has delivered speeches at professional conferences, conventions, and public events. She has been a guest lecturer at universities and in public and private schools. Sandy has presented to community and business groups. Audiences have ranged from 1000 to 10. Sandy’s speeches and presentations have focused on public policy including but not limited to women’s issues, diversity, and environmental issues; management and organization; government, politics, and effective advocacy; and leadership. Sandy has testified before New York State Legislative Committees on topics ranging from public safety to redistricting. Over the years, Sandy has developed an excellent working relationship with the media and has commented on issues of timely importance, participated in televised debates and served as a panelist. Sandy has delivered speeches in the United States and Canada.

In addition to insights and anecdotes from 20 years of public service as the CEO/Elected Executive of a full service municipality, Sandy’s speeches also include experiences and information gleaned from 10 years as a school board leader, as past president of the Board of Governors of a state-wide municipal insurance reciprocal, and as a community leader and activist who serves on various Boards of Directors. Sandy won the 1998 Democratic Primary Election for Lt. Governor in a three way race against two men, one from New York City and the other from the North Country of New York State. Although people said that a woman from upstate New York “need not apply,” Sandy showed that a strong message, good communication, effective organization, and hard work can overcome the obstacle of contrary “common wisdom.” As a state party leader, the Chairperson of the New York Democratic Party asked Sandy to serve as Chair of a statewide task force on domestic partner benefits and civil union. The task force was diverse and included straight and LGBT representatives from all parts of the state. Under Sandy’s leadership, the work of the task force led to the successful adoption of a non-discrimination law in New York and equal treatment under the law as a civil right for the LGBT community.

Sandy served as a Commissioner on the New York State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness at the request of Governor Eliot Spitzer. The Commission’s work created strategies to save local governments and taxpayers’ money by increasing efficiencies while improving the quality of services. Sandy brings a unique perspective as a woman who broke the glass ceiling in her community and cracked the glass ceiling in New York State through involvement in public service at the local, state and federal levels.


During her thirty years of involvement in public and community service in the Rochester area, Sandra Frankel has established a standard of excellence and integrity that has earned her the bipartisan respect and admiration of government, business and labor, education, and community leaders. Citizens know that they can count on Sandy Frankel to address complex issues of critical importance to make their community a better place in which to live, work, raise a family, and run a business.

Sandra Frankel was selected as a finalist for the prestigious 2008 Athena Award of the Women’s Council of the Rochester Business Alliance in recognition of her significant leadership and accomplishments.

Leadership, tireless dedication and a willingness to build consensus are trademarks of Sandra Frankel’s career in government, education, as a speech language pathologist and community activist.

As a recognized community leader and Chief Executive Officer of a full service municipal government serving 36,500 people with a budget of $24 million, she has the vision to lead, the skills to select the best people for key positions within her organization, the ability to motivate her people to do an excellent job, and the drive to achieve shared organizational and community goals.

Hon. Sandra Frankel has served as Supervisor of the Town of Brighton, New York for the past 20 years. Brighton is a developed, urban suburb of 36,500 people adjacent to the southeastern quadrant of the City of Rochester in Monroe County.

Sandy was elected Supervisor (comparable to Mayor) in 1991. Despite a larger Republican than Democratic voter registration, she became the first Democrat and first woman to hold the office of Elected Executive/CEO in the town’s 177-year history. In her most recent contested election for Supervisor, she won with 72 percent of the vote.

In 2007, Sandy was appointed by New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to the Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness. The 15 member commission, which included government, business and academic leaders from across the state, developed recommendations to streamline local government for cost savings, increased productivity, and improved services, with the goal of making New York more competitive.

Sandy Frankel is a member and past President of the Board of Governors of the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal (NYMIR), a not-for-profit insurance company owned by and serving the insurance and risk management needs of more than 650 subscribing counties, small cities, towns and villages, comprising more than 30 percent of the state’s municipalities.

She has worked to strengthen cooperation between suburbs and city through her participation as a member of the Rochester Stewardship Council for the city’s comprehensive plan update, “Rochester 2010: An Urban Renaissance”, and currently as Inter-municipal Cooperation Official for the Town of Brighton.

Sandy Frankel has created an impressive record of accomplishments. She knows that it takes a professional and dedicated team working in partnership with the people she serves to transform the community’s vision into reality. Under her leadership, her administration:

  • fixed a major fiscal problem inherited from the prior administration, stabilized the organization’s finances, cut taxes in five budgets, earned a high level Moody’s credit rating upgrade to Aa3, and saved $2 million in health insurance costs over three years for the municipality
  • created a new town-wide park system of more than 425 acres and protected environmentally sensitive areas
  • built a new public library
  • instituted Community Policing and other innovative public safety programs, expanded the police department, closed a dilapidated crime-ridden motel, and strengthened fire and ambulance services
  • created a new affordable housing neighborhood with amenities such as sidewalks, granite curbs, and residential style street lights through an innovative approach in collaboration with state agencies and not-for-profit organizations
  • initiated inter-municipal cooperation with neighboring municipalities to provide more cost-effective, efficient, quality services—fire protection, assessment services, building inspection and plan review, purchasing, Emergency 911, road construction and maintenance, and joint grant applications for trail acquisition and construction
  • repaired dangerous neighborhood sidewalks with an award winning program, and instituted an aggressive road, sewer, and drainage construction and maintenance program
  • established an historic preservation law and commission to designate local landmarks, and created an arts council and an annual arts festival to promote local artists and the arts
  • worked with the University of Rochester to develop a regional complex for medical/health care services and to expand optics and laser technology research facilities
  • adopted an economic development and design guideline plan that revitalized the town’s main retail/commercial corridor, filling vacant storefronts; created a Business Improvement District to reduce the cost of exterior renovation for businesses; supported the establishment of Empire Zones; beautified the town center; and initiated a cooperative plan for the community’s main retail corridor shared by adjacent municipalities
  • championed the successful naming of I-490 within Monroe County as the “Erie Canal Expressway” by the state legislature to promote tourism and recreational use of the canal as a community asset
  • conducted the first town-wide revaluation in 40 years to restore fairness and equity to the assessment rolls, and maintained the roll with periodic updates
  • updated the Comprehensive Plan with a vision for the future–promoting economic development, preserving open space, and protecting and strengthening neighborhoods
  • re-codified the Town Code for the first time in 20 years with new business friendly laws that respected nearby residential neighborhoods
  • adopted non-discrimination personnel policies and domestic partner benefits for LGBT employees, promoted opportunities for women to advance within the organization, hired women for non-traditional jobs, and diversified the workforce
  • put the community at the forefront of fighting global warming and climate change within the region with an aggressive environmental program that has won community-wide praise; instituted an urban forest program that earned the Town of Brighton recognition as a Tree City U.S.A., established a successful Farmers’ Market to promote local agricultural businesses and offer healthy food, as well as creating a Community Garden

Today, the Hon. Sandra Frankel’s mantra that the town of “Brighton is the best place to live, work and raise a family” in Monroe County reflects her vision for the community and the strength, vibrancy, and high quality of life that she and her team in partnership with the people of the community have achieved.

As Chief Executive Officer, Sandy Frankel has presented annual budgets of more $24 million, kept property taxes within the rate of inflation and cut taxes five times. She has run a government that has improved the community’s quality of life and won the approval of voters in 10 elections. She understands how to forge consensus and is committed to open government and citizen participation. She knows the importance of education in building tomorrow’s workforce, the centrality of jobs and economic development to the future of our community and state, the imperative of fiscal responsibility and prudent management of essential services, the compelling need for strong public safety programs, the concerns of citizens about health care, and the value of preserving open space and protecting the environment for future generations.

Communication is an essential element of leadership, and Sandy has broad experience working with the media, as a guest speaker for many civic organizations and a guest lecturer at local colleges, universities and public schools. She has given many speeches on various topics including but not limited to government, politics, the environment, education, and women’s issues; and she has participated in public, televised debates and on panels in local, state and national forums. She has written a biweekly column for a local weekly newspaper, guest editorials and letters-to-the-editor for the daily newspaper, and a chapter for a collaborative book on wetlands that has not yet been published.

In 1998, Sandy won the Primary Election to become the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of New York. She won 55 of New York’s 62 counties with nearly 51 percent of the vote in a three-way race, and 79 percent of the votes cast for Lt. Governor in Monroe County in the statewide Primary Election. As the first Democrat from upstate, western New York to win a statewide primary, she opened the door for Democrats from her region. She championed many issues, including the need for fiscal responsibility; economic revitalization and job creation; access to affordable, quality health care for all New Yorkers; and support for education, public safety, and a clean and healthy environment. Although she and her running mate did not win the General Election, she represented her community with dignity and honor in a positive campaign, and put the Town of Brighton and Monroe County on the map. Sandy understands that there is much to be learned from entrepreneurial efforts regardless of the outcome.

In 2000, Sandy served as Monroe County co-chair of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign for United States Senate. During First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “Listening Tour” prior to running for the U.S. Senate, she stayed at Sandy and Neil’s home in Brighton.

Sandy served for six years as a school board member for the Brighton Central School District from 1985-1991, nationally recognized for excellence in education, and oversaw annual budgets of $35 million. She was a member of the BOCES Monroe 1 Board of Education for 10 years, from 1982-1992, providing cooperative special, vocational, and technology education programs and shared administrative functions for the 10 eastern Monroe County school districts, and overseeing budgets of $50 million. She held the position of Vice President on both boards. She has served as President of the Monroe County School Boards Association, and has distinguished herself on numerous community boards and commissions, including Greater Rochester Fights Back drug prevention task force, Early Childhood Intervention Council of Monroe County, Arts and Cultural Council of the Greater Rochester Area, Rochester Chamber Orchestra, Continuing Developmental Services Foundation, Children Awaiting Parents, Brighton Chamber of Commerce, Landmark Society, and as an Advisor for the Mosaic Partnership Program. She is a member of the Rochester Rotary and Brighton Kiwanis Clubs, and served on the Freedom Celebration Committee of the Rochester/Monroe County Freedom Trail Commission, which produced a major national conference in Rochester on Frederick Douglass and the Underground Railroad.

Prior to moving to the Rochester, NY area, Sandy and her family lived in the Philadelphia, PA area where she was active in civic affairs. She was appointed an Alternate to the Upper Providence Township Home Rule Study Commission, and participated in the drafting of a Home Rule Charter that was approved in a public referendum. She was then elected chairperson of the bi-partisan Transition Committee that wrote the Administrative Code and redistricted.

In 2011, Sandy made the decision to challenge the incumbent administration of county government, which had a record of corruption and significant financial problems, in lieu of running for re-election. She hoped to clean up county government and to restore financial integrity and stability. Although she did not win the election to become County Executive against the well-financed incumbent, she brought important issues to the public for greater accountability.

Since leaving public office, Sandy has delivered numerous speeches on hydraulic fracturing, women’s issues, public policy issues in the presidential campaign, and local history.

Sandy Frankel earned her Bachelor of Science Degree with Distinction from Newcomb College of Tulane University and a Master of Arts from Northwestern University, and she did additional graduate studies at Stanford University and San Jose State College. She worked in health care and education in the public and private sectors in New York, Pennsylvania, and California as a Speech Language Pathologist for more than 20 years prior to taking office as Supervisor of the Town of Brighton. She and her husband, Dr. Neil A. Frankel, retired, Xerox Corporation, reside in Brighton, New York. They have 3 grown children and 8 grandchildren.

Personal interests include reading, photography, travel, time with family and friends, writing, gardening, and attending cultural events. She has exhibited and sold her photographs at art shows and galleries to benefit not-for-profit organizations, and she has created original photographic note cards that are sold in Rochester, New York area gift shops and garden centers.

To invite Sandy to speak to your organization or group, please fill out the Speaker Inquiry Request Form.