New York City Comptroller-Elect Scott M. Stringer Announces The First Wave Of Appointments To His New Leadership Team
December 24, 2013
Pledges to recruit "the best and the brightest" to his office, to protect New York City's fiscal health, root out waste and fraud in local government and safeguard the City's $147 billion public pension fund
December 24, 2013-New York, NY-New York City Comptroller-elect Scott M. Stringer on Tuesday announced eight members of his new leadership team, who will assume their duties on January 1, 2014. These appointees will advise the Comptroller in carrying out his New York City charter-mandated responsibilities, and supervise the work of his office. Stringer said the names of future appointees are forthcoming.
“As New York’s Comptroller I will be a vigilant steward of the City’s financial health and a fiscal watchdog over the operations of local government, and I am proud to announce the members of the team who will be assisting me in carrying out these important tasks on behalf of all New York City residents,” said Stringer.
“I am confident that each of them will make an extraordinary contribution to the Comptroller’s office and the City’s financial well-being. They share my progressive values and my belief that our local government must be equally tough when it comes to fiscal management as well as its responsibility to provide greater economic opportunities for working and middle class families.”
Comptroller-elect Stringer announced the following appointments:
First Deputy Comptroller – Alaina Gilligo
General Counsel – Kathryn (“Kay”) Diaz
Deputy Comptroller for Contracts and Procurement – Lisa M. Flores
Deputy Comptroller for Public Affairs – Camille C. Joseph
Deputy Comptroller for Accountancy – Michele Mark Levine, CPA
Deputy Comptroller for Public Finance – Carol S. Kostik
Chief of Staff – Sascha Owen
Policy Director – David Saltonstall
As First Deputy Comptroller, Alaina Gilligo will provide senior policy and administrative support to the Comptroller. She will oversee the Deputy Comptrollers and internal office operations including the Agency’s Bureau of Legal Affairs, Budget, Accountancy, Audit, Public Finance, Asset Management, Contract Administration, Administration (Human Resources and Budget), Law and Adjustment, Engineering and Information Systems. Ms. Gilligo will be responsible for coordinating the activities and operations of the bureaus to ensure efficient execution of goals, sharing of expertise and constructive collaboration to improve performance. The First Deputy Comptroller carries out the responsibilities and duties of the New York City Comptroller in his absence.
Ms. Gilligo has served as Chief of Staff for Manhattan Borough President since he assumed office in 2006 and is currently the Executive Director of his Transition. As his Chief of Staff she supervised land use policy in Manhattan, directed budget reform initiatives and was the Borough President’s representative on the Economic Development Corporation. She supervised the creation and release of more than 50 reports probing waste, inefficiencies and dysfunction in many areas of New York City’s local government. Ms. Gilligo directed office initiatives creating greater transparency and accountability in the operation of Manhattan’s Community Boards, and helped implement “Go Green” initiatives targeting environmental and medical health disparities plaguing residents of Manhattan’s under-served communities.
Ms. Gilligo was a policy analyst and legislative aide for Mr. Stringer when he served as a New York State Assembly Member representing Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She helped launch initiatives providing greater protection for victims of Domestic Violence, immigration reform and promoting marriage equality. A graduate of Barnard College, Ms. Gilligo has a Master’s Degree in Public Nonprofit and Management Policy from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.
As General Counsel, Kathryn (“Kay”) Diaz will serve as adviser to the Comptroller on all legal issues that come before the office and affect its operations. She will provide legal advice to the Comptroller in his capacity as trustee of four of the five City pension funds; oversee the Comptroller’s Bureau of Law and Adjustment, which settles and adjusts all claims in favor of or against the City, including personal injury and property damage claims, contract disputes filed against the City, and referral of fraudulent claims to the appropriate District Attorney’s Office for prosecution; review the solicitation and award of City contracts for legal compliance in connection with the Comptroller’s Charter-mandated role of registering all contracts and agreements executed by city agencies; oversee the Comptroller’s Bureau of Labor Law; and assist the Bureau of Public Finance in structuring and negotiating bond and note sales, among many duties.
Ms. Diaz is currently Special Counsel to Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of New York State’s Department of Financial Services. The agency, with 1,300 employees and a $240 million budget, supervises more than 3,500 banking, insurance, and other financial services institutions representing more than $6 trillion in combined assets, and also examines all public retirement and pension systems in New York. Ms. Diaz also develops and supervises execution of major program initiatives aimed at ensuring sound business practices and eliminating fraud in the banking and insurance industries.
Major initiatives have included investigations into anti-money laundering violations and conflicts of interest in the related consulting industry, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in fines; reforming life insurers’ claims practices, recovering more than $1.1 billion in unpaid life insurance benefits for consumers nationwide; investigation of insurance companies’ risk-hiding practices; regulatory reform tackling fraudulent no-fault medical mills. Immediately prior to joining DFS, Ms. Diaz was Senior Trial Counsel at the Office of the New York State Attorney General, where her work included investigating conflicts of interest at New York State’s Common Retirement Fund, fraudulent practices in the insurance industry, government contracting fraud and a variety of fundraising and corporate governance violations in the Not-for-Profit sector. Ms. Diaz began her career over two decades ago as a Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor where she specialized in enforcement of fiduciary obligations under ERISA, as well as other labor and employment laws. She also brings to the position over a dozen years of experience in the private sector. A graduate of Barnard College and Northeastern University School of Law, she also holds a Master of Laws Degree from New York University School of Law.
As Deputy Comptroller for Contracts and Procurement, Lisa M. Flores will oversee the review of all contracts, contract amendments, leases and concessions between City agencies and vendors to determine whether the agreements should be registered. The Comptroller’s office is mandated by the New York City Charter to register all contracts procured for the provision of goods, services or construction that are paid out of the City treasury or other funds under the control of City.
Lisa M. Flores has served as Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) since December 2011. In that capacity, she had procurement oversight authority for 40 mayoral agencies, including construction, client services and public safety agencies, in addition to overseeing the Capacity and Oversight unit and Citywide Insurance Program. Prior to that, beginning in 2006, she served as the office’s Assistant Director and Associate Director. Before her tenure at MOCS, she served in other analytical capacities at the Department of Small Business Services, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and at a large NYC nonprofit. Ms. Flores received a BA in International Politics and Spanish from Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s of Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
As Deputy Comptroller for Public Affairs, Camille C. Joseph will serve as the Comptroller’s inter-governmental liaison to the public, mayoral agencies, federal, state and local authorities. The unit handles all external affairs, including community relations and outreach, financial education forums and other duties, as well as the Community Action Center-which provides information and assistance to New Yorkers who have made complaints about inadequate or lack of municipal services.
Ms. Joseph served as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Special Adviser in the Office of United States Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand. In this capacity, she was responsible for advancing the Senator’s public policy priorities as well as establishing and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders statewide. She was also the National African American Vote Deputy Director for the Obama Presidential Campaign in 2012. In this role, she worked with national campaign leadership to develop and implement constituency outreach strategies to increase African American voter registration, motivation and turnout in key battleground states.
Ms. Joseph was the Campaign Manager and Political Director of former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner’s 2013 mayoral campaign, and has worked on several other national, state and local political campaigns. She also served as Director of Youth Engagement for SHOW UP New York, an organization focused on increasing civic participation among youth and people of color, namely in New York City. Ms. Joseph has also worked as an independent political strategist, serving as an adviser for the Rev. Al Sharpton and his senior team for the National Action Network’s Annual Conference.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Ms. Joseph earned a BA in Politics and History as a Presidential Scholar at New York University. She also received a Masters Degree in Politics from NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science.
As Deputy Comptroller for Accountancy, Michele Mark Levine will oversee all aspects of New York City’s accounting and financial reporting-one of the nation’s largest municipal systems-tracking a $70 billion operating budget. She will also oversee the preparation and publication of the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), which contains the City’s official, audited financial statement.
Michele Mark Levine has served as Director of Accounting Services of the New York City Office of Management and Budget, advising on governmental generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), which statutorily governs the City’s budgeting. She has also assisted in the coordination of the City’s independent financial statements audit and Federal funds Single Audit; represented the Mayor on the New York City Audit Committee; and acted as liaison to the Office of the City Comptroller on accounting matters. While at OMB and serving as Comptroller of the NYC Municipal Water Authority and other City-related financing entities, Ms. Levine was responsible for the annual financial statement preparation and audit coordination for two public authorities, five public benefit companies, three or more tax lien trusts and the City’s Other Post Employment (OPEB) Plan every year. She played a key role in obtaining billions of dollars in Recovery funding from FEMA post 9/11, and has been working in a similar capacity with FEMA and HUD post Sandy. She began her career as an audit associate with Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers).
Ms. Levine earned a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Administration at Syracuse University. She is Past President of the New York State Government Finance Officers Assn., and was honored to have been named the 2011 Outstanding Certified Public Accountant in Government by the New York State Society of CPAs.
As Deputy Comptroller for Public Finance, Carol S. Kostik will continue in her present position, where she directs City debt policy and issuance on behalf of the Comptroller and oversees a $100 billion portfolio of outstanding City bonds and swaps. Under the New York City Charter, the Mayor and Comptroller share the responsibility for issuing bonds and notes backed by the City’s General Obligation, as well as debt of the New York City Transitional Finance Authority (TFA) and NYC Municipal Water Finance Authority (NYW), among other credits.
Since her initial appointment in 2006, Ms. Kostik has managed the issuance of over $90 billion of debt to fund capital projects and to refinance high interest rate bonds for budget savings. She has led Comptroller’s Office municipal market initiatives that brought greater competition to City bond sales, increased the diversity of the City’s finance teams, and built a substantial investor information website. Ms. Kostik helped the City’s debt program successfully weather the severe market stresses of 2008 and subsequently capitalize on new financial instruments and historic low interest rates.
Ms. Kostik was appointed Deputy Comptroller for Public Finance by Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. in 2006 and reappointed by Comptroller John C. Liu in January 2010. Before joining the Comptroller’s office, she was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the New York City Housing Development Corporation. Prior to that, she was founding Chief Financial Officer of the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority, and a vice president in Merrill Lynch & Company’s public finance department. Ms. Kostik holds a bachelor of arts degree in political economy from Williams College and a Master’s in Business Administration from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. The Municipal Forum of New York honored her with its Public Service Award in 2010.
As Chief of Staff, Sascha Owen will manage the Comptroller’s office day-to-day functions and responsibilities. She will be overseeing the Department of Public Affairs, including Communications and Policy.
Ms. Owen, currently Deputy Director for Mr. Stringer’s Transition, previously served him as Deputy Chief of Staff, working on initiatives to increase transparency in the operation of Manhattan’s Community Boards, and on broad policy issues ranging from investigations of school overcrowding and proposals to revamp the Department of Buildings to negotiations for cable franchise contracts, as carried out by the Franchise and Concession Review Committee. Before that, she was Mr. Stringer’s Legislative Director in the State Assembly. Ms. Owen served as Campaign Manager for his 2013 campaign for Comptroller. A graduate of Oberlin College, Ms. Owen earned a degree from Brooklyn Law School and has practiced criminal and civil rights law.
As Policy Director, David Saltonstall will oversee the development of the Comptroller’s public policy agenda, working with other units to transform the office into a hub of innovation and ideas. He will work closely with Stringer in his plans to advance an agenda aimed at lifting up all New Yorkers and making the City more affordable, sustainable and competitive on the global stage.
Mr. Saltonstall has served as Policy Director for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer since 2010. Before that, he was an award-winning reporter for the New York Daily News, serving as City Hall Bureau Chief and Senior Political Correspondent during a 17-year career. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in government.
As he unveiled the names of his new appointees, Comptroller-elect Stringer praised the work of his Transition Committee, which has been interviewing candidates and making recommendations to him: “I could not be more pleased with the names we are announcing today, and so much of the credit for that goes to the members of this hardworking and dedicated Transition Committee,” Stringer said. “They have put in many hours of service to their City–and the result is a leadership team for the Comptroller’s Office that should make all New Yorkers proud.”
The committee comprises a swath of the city’s most eminent lawyers, economists, academics, accountants, executives and community leaders. They range from a former City Comptroller, fiscal experts, accountants and auditors to heads of universities, experts on ethics, diversity officers and community leaders. The Transition Committee has taken advantage of New York’s constellation of nationally regarded thinkers, policy makers and leaders to build an exemplary Comptroller’s office. Areas of specific expertise include government ethics, housing policy, the fostering of diversity and inclusion, not-for-profit management, finance and investing, labor policy, budgetary policy, business development, urban affairs, labor union policy and education.
Robert Kasdin, Co-Chair of the Transition Committee and Senior Executive Vice President of Columbia University, said: “I am proud to have played a role in the appointment of such distinguished individuals to the City Comptroller’s Office. Each of them has an extraordinary track record in their respective field and I know they will serve our City with distinction, protecting and enhancing New York’s financial security.”
Ana Oliveira, Co-Chair of the Transition Committee and President and CEO of the New York Women’s Foundation, said: “The appointees announced today by Comptroller-elect Stringer will bring an extraordinarily high level of skill and integrity to the work of his office. They represent a cross-section of our City’s vibrant diversity, and will carry out their crucially important work on behalf of all New Yorkers in this new administration.”
Members of the Transition Committee include:
Ana Maria Archila
Dall W. Forsythe
Harrison J. (“Jay”) Goldin
Benjamin T. Jealous
Anthony S. Kendall
Felix V. Matos Rodriguez
Heidi S. Messer
Lisa Garcia Quiroz
Kathryn S. Wyld