Meier received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974 and a law degree from Syracuse University shortly after. Following his admittance to the New York Bar in 1977, Meier served as deputy Onondaga County attorney for a year. An associate in the law offices of Paul A. Worlock until 1983, Meier later became a partner in the Rome law firm of McMahon and Grow until 1991.
Meier began his career in government in 1978 as legislative counsel to the late State Senator James H. Donovan. He also served as corporation counsel for the City of Rome until 1983.
Prior to becoming county executive, Meier served as an Oneida County legislator in the 35th District. Throughout his career, he also has been assistant majority leader, chairman of the Courts and Law Enforcement Committee, chairman of the Economic Development Committee, and vice chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee.
Meier took office as Oneida County's seventh county executive in January 1991. He was the unanimous choice of the bi-partisan Oneida County Board of Legislators to fill the unexpired term of John Plumley, following his resignation. Meier then won election to his first full term as county executive in November 1991 by a wide margin and subsequently won his second term unopposed in 1995.
The Ralph E. and Doris M. Hansmann Lecture Series was established in 1993 to honor Hansmann, Class of 1940, and his wife. The series supports annual lectures in the field of public policy.