Publisher's Section

Who's Who in Budgeting & Finance

The fiscal and financial wizards you need to know in New York.

Throughout the year, City & State highlights the key players in New York’s political arena, from influential public officials to successful CEOs to energetic advocates and activists. But none of these individuals would be very effective without the assistance of specialized experts who crunch the numbers, balance the books and generate revenue. These professionals – banking executives, chief financial officers, controllers, treasurers, procurement managers, bond counsels, public finance attorneys and more – come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds and represent financial institutions, corporations, nonprofit organizations, law firms, advocacy groups and several levels and branches of government in New York. City & State’s inaugural Who’s Who in Budgeting & Finance puts these unsung heroes in the spotlight.

Michele Arbeeny

Partner, Windels Marx
Michele Arbeeny / Dick Duane Photography

Michele Arbeeny concentrates her practice on nonprofit, real estate, health care and municipal finance matters. She maintains a successful track record of representing financial institutions and nonprofits in all aspects of secured and unsecured financing, including acquisition, construction, revolving and term loans, as well as tax-exempt and taxable bonds. Arbeeny also represents financial institutions and developers in affordable housing transactions. She is the chair of Windels Marx Women and the leading force behind the firm’s scholarship devoted to advancing diversity in law schools and the workplace.

Recent accomplishments: Arbeeny was named to Best Lawyers in America (2024 edition) in public finance law, as well as being named to SuperLawyers - New York Metro (2023 edition) in banking.

Linda Armyn

President and CEO, Bethpage Federal Credit Union
Linda Armyn / Bethpage FCU

Linda Armyn has been an integral part of Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s expansion for 22 years. She, along with her leadership team, uses a team-centric approach to ensure Bethpage being a great place to work and bank. Bethpage has a strong commitment to helping their communities thrive through grants, volunteerism and sponsorships. Armyn serves as co-chair of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, a commissioner for Long Island State Parks, council member of Stony Brook University and board member for YMCA of Long Island and Mentor New York. She is also active with America’s Credit Unions in Washington, D.C., and the New York Credit Union Association in Albany.

Recent accomplishments: In 2023, Bethpage became a certified Best Place to Work and broke a record collecting 4,300 turkeys with Partner Island Harvest at its annual Turkey Drive. This ensured over 4,000 families had a holiday meal. Bethpage teammates continue to volunteer thousands of hours in our communities and invested $2 million in our communities. Armyn is proud to have participated in the development of Long Island’s regional strategic plan, which won a $10 million award to focus on improving the development and access to affordable housing with the Long Island REDC.

Jonathan A. Ballan

Partner, Head of Infrastructure and P3 Finance, Harris Beach PLLC
Jonathan A. Ballan / Harris Beach PLLC

Jonathan A. Ballan focuses his law practice on municipal and infrastructure finance, public authority finance, stadium finance, economic development, housing finance, project finance, government relations and privatization and securitization of public assets. He has broad experience developing innovative legal structures for state and local bond issuers, investment bankers and developers. Ballan has served in numerous high-level governmental capacities in New York state and New York City. He was chair of both the Municipal Assistance Corp. for New York City and the New York Public Asset Fund. He served five years on the boards of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the State of New York Mortgage Agency.

Recent accomplishments: In 2023, during his first year at Harris Beach, Ballan led the firm’s efforts as bond counsel to the New York Transportation Development Corporation on a complicated P3 transaction to finance and maintain accessibility projects for the MTA as well as on a major financing for the MTA. He also led the firm’s efforts on a large tender offer and financing for New York state through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York as well as legal structuring work on several large projects for developers throughout New York, California and Puerto Rico.

Adam Barsky

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, New York Power Authority
Adam Barsky / Provided

Adam Barsky, who joined the New York Power Authority in 2019, is an accomplished senior executive with over 30 years of dedicated experience in management, finance and public policy. Barsky previously served as chief of staff and special counselor at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as well as executive vice president and chief risk officer of IDB Bank of New York, overseeing all aspects of risk management for the bank, including credit risk, market risk, operational risk, strategic risk and reputation risk. Barsky also served as deputy secretary to the governor and chair of the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority.

Recent accomplishments: This year, Barsky created a first-of-its-kind financing structure to securitize transmission revenues subject to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order. The issuance of $608 million bonds was certified as 100% green bonds. This new structure will greatly enhance NYPA’s ability to take on more priority transmission projects. NYPA also received legislative approval to create its own captive insurance company, which will insulate NYPA from black swan risks like terrorism, cyber attacks and extreme weather events. NYPA was also the first public utility to issue a report integrating financial and ESG data.

Tara Boirard

Senior Deputy Director, New York City Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget
Tara Boirard / Ambar Jimenez

Tara Boirard serves as a senior deputy director at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget. As part of the executive team, she plays a key role in advising the budget director on strategy and policy. She oversees and coordinates all aspects of budget and financial management for the city agencies that support affordable housing, bolster economic development and build and maintain the city’s vast infrastructure. Boirard also manages citywide federal grants and stimulus funding and supervises the value engineering team. She has a master’s degree from The New School and a bachelor of arts from Rutgers University.

Recent accomplishments: Boirard is proud to be part of a team that helped stabilize the city’s fiscal outlook amidst serious financial challenges. Under the budget director’s leadership, the office made tough decisions and identified creative solutions to balance the budget while, at the same time, ensured that agencies could fulfill their core missions and support New Yorkers. It was gratifying to help finance more than 27,000 units of affordable housing and catalyze economic development projects across the city. Finally, working behind the scenes with the talented staff at OMB on the day-to-day management of the budget is always a high point.

Sharon L. Brown

Partner and Co-Chair of Public Finance Practice Area, Barclay Damon LLP
Sharon L. Brown / Focus Studios

With over 20 years of legal experience, Sharon L. Brown concentrates her practice with a particular emphasis on the federal tax treatment of tax-exempt bond financings in which she assists her governmental clients in the tax structuring of governmental and private activity bond transactions. Brown has served as bond counsel, special tax counsel, underwriters’ counsel and borrower’s counsel on a wide variety of public finance transactions, including single and multifamily housing, power and energy, 501(c)(3) financings for higher education, health care and cultural institutions, and general obligation bond and note issues for infrastructure projects for cities, towns, villages and school districts across New York state.

Recent accomplishments: Brown provided tax advice to the New York State Housing Finance Agency in connection with its largest issuance of tax-exempt bonds by dollar amount – $502,715,000 Affordable Housing Revenue Bonds, 2023 Series A and B. This deal financed the new construction of six affordable housing developments, which are expected to create 1,104 units in the aggregate of affordable housing, and four preservation affordable housing developments, which are expected to create or rehabilitate and preserve 1,124 units in the aggregate of affordable housing throughout the state.

Sheryl Buro

Deputy Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, Long Island Contractors’ Association
Sheryl Buro / Long Island Contractors' Association

Sheryl Buro serves as the deputy executive director and chief financial officer for the Long Island Contractors’ Association. A trailblazing woman in a predominantly male-dominated heavy construction industry, she is a highly respected leader among her peers. Her leadership helps guide the advocacy efforts for the trade association’s 170-plus member firms. Buro is responsible for internal financial controls and the administration and monitoring of external financial matters, such as analyzing and auditing public works bids, contracts and municipal capital programs.

Recent accomplishments: Buro commissioned an economic study by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association that revealed that the New York highway and bridge funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act did not increase the state’s prior spending levels but rather sustained them. However, our neighboring northeastern peer states averaged a 24% increase in capital program spending. The report’s findings directed LICA’s advocacy efforts for legislative policy and budget strategies. Buro also provided fiscal guidance to employer contract team leaders during the successful negotiations for multiyear collective bargaining agreements with local carpenter, laborer, operating engineer and Teamster locals.

Ralph Bumbaca

Market President, New York City, TD Bank
Ralph Bumbaca / TD Bank

Ralph Bumbaca has more than 35 years of banking and finance experience and is the market president of New York City for TD Bank, responsible for providing strategic direction and leadership to TD Bank’s middle market, commercial and small-business banking efforts throughout a network of regional banking teams and over 135 retails stores. Bumbaca works closely with a number of community and business partners to advance economic opportunity and is a proud board member of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and the Business Initiative Corporation of New York, to name a few.

Recent accomplishments: Promoting and expanding access to capital for local CDFIs in support of their small business initiatives, including workforce development and financial empowerment for low-to-moderate income business owners.

Charles E. Carey

Member, Mintz
Charles E. Carey / Provided

Charles E. Carey is a nationally recognized public finance attorney who handles a broad range of revenue bond financings. He serves as bond counsel and counsel to underwriters on financings around the country, with a particular focus on Massachusetts and New York. He is primarily involved in financing for affordable residential developments, sports facilities and public transportation. Carey has been consistently ranked, across publications, among the top attorneys in Boston and New York. He has extensive experience in taxable and tax-exempt revenue bond financings, as well as in the areas of general revenue bonds and disclosure.

Recent accomplishments: In the past year, Carey has worked with several clients in connection with the construction and preservation of over 300 units of affordable housing. He has also assisted his clients in moving from (London Interbank Offered Rate) to other indices for setting variable interest rates on outstanding municipal debt.

John Casellini

President, Ways and Means NY

Over four decades, John Casellini has been on the front lines in Albany. For 17 years, he worked on the inside, in communications and policy before climbing the ladder over a decade to serve as the budget director of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. He then worked for eight years for a Fortune 250 company, rising up to serve as the vice president of public affairs, overseeing state and local lobbying efforts. Returning to Albany full time, he worked with a Top 15 firm, ascending to the role of managing director, before launching Ways and Means NY over 10 years ago.

Recent accomplishments: Casellini celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the boutique government relations firm he founded, Ways and Means NY, where he works closely with a dozen clients as a vital part of their team. Much of that work is naturally budget-focused and the wins this year include further efforts to address climate issues, including clean energy development and energy affordability; restoring funding within health care and higher education; and ensuring transportation funding across many modes. Post-budget accomplishments include proactively developing legislation and helping clients strategically plan for inclusion in the executive budget and the State of the State.

Louisa Chafee

Director, New York City Independent Budget Office
Louisa Chafee / Tallulah Elorriaga

In March 2023, Louisa Chafee became the director of the New York City Independent Budget Office. As the first new IBO leader in over two decades, Chafee has led strategic shifts to align with IBO’s mission of providing timely and clear information to all New Yorkers. Chafee brings over 20 years of leadership service in the government and nonprofit public policy arena, including stints as state deputy secretary for human services, as executive director for management innovation in the New York City mayor’s office, and as senior vice president for external relations and public policy at UJA-Federation of New York.

Recent accomplishments: During an especially challenging budget year, IBO has focused its nonpartisan, data-driven lens on key budget and policy issues impacting all New Yorkers. In addition to its annual projections on revenues and fiscal shortfalls, IBO has generated timely, topical analyses to assist policy makers and the public in understanding the true costs and benefits of asylum-seeker services, the impact of the state’s school class-size reform legislation, the tax implications of cannabis legalization and the impact of recent city legislation expanding housing voucher eligibility, to name but a few of the over 50 reports published this past year.

Tina Chirico

Chief Financial Officer, Anderson Center for Autism
Tina Chirico / Anderson Center for Autism

Tina M. Chirico has been the chief financial officer of the Anderson Center for Autism since 2006, playing a key role in its 300% budget growth over 19 years. With 33 years in the human services field, she actively collaborates with state departments and holds leadership positions in organizations like the Financial Managers Association and the 853 Coalition. Chirico’s contributions extend to committees addressing rate reform and financial changes in collaboration with the state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, state Education Department and state Office of Children and Family Services.

Recent accomplishments: Chirico supports Anderson’s mission of “Optimizing the Quality of Life for Individuals with Autism” by collaborating with the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, the Office of Children and Family Services, Albany County and the state Education Department to establish the Anderson Early Learning Academy (preschool) and Anderson Center Clinic (ABA evidence-based services).

Naima Chisolm

Client Manager, BTQ Financial
Naima Chisolm / Provided

Naima Chisolm has over 20 years of experience in financial services. She has been with BTQ for over 15 years and is currently a portfolio manager. She has worked in partnership with over 15 agencies that specialize primarily in the health care and social services sectors. Prior to joining BTQ, Chisolm was director of finance for a Brooklyn-based social services provider where she oversaw the fiscal department as well as managed government contracts and financial reporting. Prior to entering the nonprofit arena, she was director of finance at a publicly traded staffing firm and was a corporate finance associate in investment banking.

Recent accomplishments:

– Finalized Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness for all clients.

– Applied for Employee Retention Tax Credit for eligible clients.

– Assisted in the financial management of capital projects for several clients.

– Submitted vouchers through BTQ Grant Management System, which improved the timeliness of voucher submissions and payments for clients.

– All eligible clients received a New York City Mayor’s Office of Contract Services-approved Indirect Cost Rate.

– Timely month end reports provided and reviewed with clients.

– All clients’ annual audit and other year-end financial reporting were completed on a timely basis with an unmodified opinion.

Jane Daniello

Controller, New York Psychotherapy and Counseling Center
Jane Daniello / Provided

With over 25 years of experience as a certified public accountant, Jane Daniello has dedicated her career to advancing nonprofit financial management, both in the United States and internationally. Her passion for supporting underserved communities in New York City has found a home at the New York Psychotherapy and Counseling Center, where she leverages her financial skills to further the agency’s mission of providing vital mental health services. As controller, Daniello has led the implementation of new financial software, enhanced the center’s approach to governmental reporting and successfully navigated state audits, all aimed at increasing efficiency and ensuring compliance.

Recent accomplishments: This past year, Daniello has played a key role in strengthening NYPCC's financial framework. She designed detailed budgets and tailored financial reports, empowering our management team to make swift, well-informed decisions. Additionally, she led a thorough revision of our financial policies and procedures manual. This initiative not only updated financial operations but also reinforced a commitment to compliance and operational excellence, underscoring Daniello’s dedication to the agency’s mission and the community's well-being.

Josenia Dominguez

Deputy Chief of Staff, New York City Public Advocate’s Office
Josenia Dominguez / Caroll Campos

Serving a public advocate for the second time, now as deputy chief of staff, Josenia Dominguez-De Los Santos is responsible for management of the office’s expense budgets and procurement services. She has co-led the expansion of the historically underfunded office operating budget by over $1.5 million. As a result, the office expanded its footprint, renovated two work spaces and established a Civic and Community Empowerment unit. Dominguez-De Los Santos’ strong attention to financial management has resulted in several infrastructural technology projects to improve productivity. Her unwavering dedication for improving government operations through responsible finance management has fueled her impactful journey at the office.

Recent accomplishments: Expanding the Office’s operating budget by over $1.5 million, increasing its office footprint, renovating two public advocate work spaces and establishing the Civic and Community Empowerment unit; as well as implementing several infrastructural technology projects to improve productivity.

April M. Drummond

Chief Financial Officer, New York Hall of Science
April M. Drummond / Kendra Day-Hernandez

April M. Drummond oversees the New York Hall of Science’s financial strategy and compliance during this period of institutional growth. In partnership with the executive team, and the board’s Finance, Audit and Risk Committee, Drummond proactively addresses fiscal planning challenges to ensure the museum advances its work on all levels. With 20-plus years as a not-for-profit financial professional, Drummond demonstrates expertise in profit and loss oversight, financial planning and analysis, in addition to financial grant management. Achieving results through precise budget development, unwavering attention to detail, Drummond, a Bronx native, optimizes financial efficiencies through new policies and processes.

Recent accomplishments: In the past year, highlights include the development of a cash flow management plan to minimize significant NYSCI upfront cash outlays to support a $10 million state government reimbursement grant. In addition, to provide financial transparency, a profit and loss reporting schedule was implemented, including year-over-year monthly review including analysis with senior leadership; the review includes P&L risks, opportunities and the probability of reaching year-end fiscal year goals. To streamline, improve turnaround time and minimize financial risks to the organization, contractual requests were formalized into a process that include thresholds that trigger immediate review from C-level management.

Helen Duchene

Chief Financial Officer, Person Centered Care Services
Helen Duchene / Person Centered Care Services

Helen Duchene is a seasoned financial professional with an impressive 38 years of accounting experience, distinguished by her unwavering commitment to nonprofit accounting for the past 21 years. Duchene has had a career marked by a profound dedication to financial stewardship, innovative strategies and community impact. Duchene’s passion for community impact extends beyond her professional role. Through her strategic financial management, she has enabled the organization to broaden its reach and deepen its impact within the Staten Island community.

Recent accomplishments: Over the past year, Duchene has spearheaded groundbreaking initiatives at Person Centered Care Services. Notably, she championed the Career Ladders Program, fostering professional growth and development within the organization. Simultaneously, Duchene played a pivotal role in the distribution of Workforce Stabilization and Healthcare Worker Bonuses, recognizing and rewarding the dedicated individuals contributing to the organization's success.

Philip Fields

Secretary, Assembly Ways and Means Committee
Philip Fields / Assembly

Philip Fields was appointed by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie as the secretary of the Ways and Means Committee, having served with the Assembly for more than three decades in various capacities. Fields volunteers as a board member of the state Deferred Compensation Board, Broadview Federal Credit Union (and chair of Broadview Federal Credit Union Supervisory Committee), Capital Region Youth Tennis Foundation, Schenectady County Historical Society and Schenectady County Legislature, among other organizations.

Recent accomplishments: Being thankful to live and reflect on accomplishments, excitements, disappointments and improvements of life, while enjoying the presence of those around us and those yet to be seen.

Greghan Fischer

Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Good Shepherd Services
Greghan Fischer / April Pabon Photography

Greghan Fischer was appointed chief administrative officer and chief financial officer of Good Shepherd Services in 2015, increasing her executive responsibilities to include the operations of the organization’s Medicaid strategy and compliance, information technology and facilities departments, in addition to her existing responsibility for the finance department. Prior to that, she served as the chief financial officer and the director of finance. Before joining the agency, she served as director of finance for Student Sponsor Partners, and as a financial analyst for Deutsche Bank. Fischer graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, concentrating in finance and business management.

Recent accomplishments: Fischer continues to lead Good Shepherd Services successfully through a challenging financial climate, overseeing another clean independent audit for the agency and partnering with executive leadership to prioritize fiscal accountability measures. She has spearheaded internal initiatives such as creating an equitable, tiered cost of living adjustment distribution process based on salary scales, procuring a Paycheck Protection Program loan to support service delivery and its subsequent forgiveness process, and overseeing the agency’s continued transition to managed care. She has also worked closely with the city to support its fair indirect cost funding initiative.

John Guastella

Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, Healthix
John Guastella / Rita Thompson Photography

John Guastella has served as senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Healthix for the past 12 years. He is responsible for all accounting, budgeting, financial and tax reporting, insurance, payroll and cash management activities. Prior to Healthix, Guastella served for over a decade as the senior vice president of finance and treasurer for FatWire Corp., a software developer. Guastella was also the controller at Andin International, a manufacturer and distributor of fine jewelry products, and previously director of internal audit at Henry Schein Inc. He began his career at BDO, where he was a senior audit manager.

Recent accomplishments: Guastella managed cash investments to attain significant investment income for Healthix in 2023, and planned for the same for 2024; coordinated with department managers to ensure they operated within the parameters of their budgets; managed compliance with financial aspects of the company’s major funding contract; ensured all billing, collection and revenue recognition activities were properly established for a significant new line of revenues; secured certain sponsorships and managed the financial reconciliation for Healthix’s first major community conference, the “Innovations in Value Based Care” Conference; and provided increased visibility on forward-looking financial projections, anticipating ebbs and flow of nonprofit funding sources.

Nathan Gusdorf

Executive Director, Fiscal Policy Institute
Nathan Gusdorf / David Beyda Studio, NYC

Nathan Gusdorf is the executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan think tank that advances sound and equitable fiscal policy to strengthen New York’s economy through research, analysis and strategic communications. Gusdorf is a tax attorney by training, and before joining the institute he worked in the tax department of an international law firm in New York City. He received his law degree from New York University School of Law and his bachelor’s in philosophy, magna cum laude, from Dartmouth College.

Recent accomplishments: The Fiscal Policy Institute recently published a groundbreaking study showing that the highest earning New Yorkers typically move to other states far less frequently than working- and middle-class New Yorkers, and that when they do move, it is generally not in search of lower taxes. FPI and Gusdorf advise elected officials, labor leaders and advocacy organizations on tax policy, economic policy and the major issues and opportunities facing the state and city budgets. Gusdorf has been featured in The New York Times, Politico, NY1 and other major media outlets.

Charlette Hamamgian

Deputy Comptroller for Contracts and Procurement, New York City Comptroller’s Office
Charlette Hamamgian / Office of the NYC comptroller

Currently the deputy comptroller for contracts and procurement for New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, Charlette Hamamgian oversees the review of all city procurement, real property and concession contracts to confirm compliance with procedural requisites, that funding exists and that there was no fraud or corruption in the procurement process. Previously, Hamamgian served as the senior executive director for contracts and purchasing for the New York City Department of Education, developing and implementing procurement policy and strategy for the largest school system in the nation. Prior to that, she held senior procurement and budget roles at numerous city agencies.

Recent accomplishments: Hamamgian oversaw the review and approval of nearly 13,000 New York City agreements valued at $37.22 billion; issued the Office of the Comptroller’s first-ever report on emergency contracts covering $1.7 billion in agreements; released a new report on the city’s compliance with minority- and women-owned business enterprises; successfully advocated for procurement reform to support more efficient, cost-effective and timely capital construction projects as well as in support of nonprofit entities that contract with the city; and, in partnership with board members, developed changes to the city’s Procurement Policy Board rules.

Barbara Hernandez

Senior Director of Finance, Presbyterian Senior Services
Barbara Hernandez / AUSTIN V. HANSEN, JR.

With over 16 years in nonprofit fiscal management, Barbara Hernandez has been instrumental to the financial well-being of various organizations throughout her career. In her current role, she takes pride in leveraging government, private and public funds effectively to advance the group’s crucial mission of serving older adults, caregivers and their families. During periods of substantial growth for the multiservice organization, Hernandez adeptly integrated new funding streams, facilitating expansion of high-quality services and programs for all PSS clients. Her expertise managing government contracts has resulted in successful annual audits, rigorous adherence to regulations and establishment of a robust financial department.

Recent accomplishments: Her recent accomplishments have included: proficiently overseeing budgets for multiple programs; concluding the fiscal year audit seamlessly, with no findings; completing a kitchen renovation essential to ensure meal provision for clients; and timely and successful submission of required financial paperwork throughout the year.

Mufazzal Hossain

Director of Budget and Legislative Affairs, New York City Council Member Yusef Salaam
Mufazzal Hossain / Tasnim Hossain

Mufazzal Hossain was a recipient of City & State’s New York City 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in 2020. He was also named a Queens Hero in 2020 by City & State. Currently, Hossain is the director of budget and legislative affairs in New York City Council Member Yusef Salaam’s office. He also is a Democratic district leader in Queens, the first Bangladeshi American to win a competitive race for the position in New York City. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering. His primary policy focus areas are public safety, criminal justice, immigration, infrastructure, climate change and representation for Muslims and South Asians.

Recent accomplishments: Hossain helped with budgeting Council Member Yusef Salaam’s council race, which played a crucial role in Salaam’s victory, and he created an effective fundraising plan for Assembly Member Khaleel Anderson.

Kimberly Hughes

Director of Finance, New York Wine & Grape Foundation
Kimberly Hughes / Annie Scheel, Penn Yan, NY

Working for the New York Wine & Grape Foundation isn’t just a job for Kim Hughes, it is a full-circle career achievement. As the daughter of a grape and apple grower and granddaughter to one of the original directors of the foundation’s board, Hughes truly believes in the work that the team does to benefit the grape growers and winemakers in New York state. As part of a small but mighty team, Hughes leads and manages all aspects of finance and compliance for the organization.

Recent accomplishments: In 2023, Hughes was promoted from finance manager to the director of finance for NYWGF. Her accomplishments, which contributed to that promotion, include completing the Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional Advanced course through BDO FMA, setting up the organization’s first-ever emergency reserve fund, and transitioning the operating budget from an annual budget to a monthly budget to further improve the financial discipline of NYWGF.

Rahul Jain

Deputy Comptroller for New York City, New York State Comptroller’s Office
Rahul Jain / Wendy MacRoberts

State Deputy Comptroller Rahul Jain provides oversight of both the nation’s largest municipal budget and largest transportation agency budget on behalf of the state comptroller. Jain’s focus on the New York City budget and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s finances yields necessary and critically important monitoring and accountability to help guide decision-makers, lawmakers and policymakers. He has led the production of reports and online trackers on risks to the city and MTA budgets and on local demographic, economic, housing and workforce trends as well as the contributions of Wall Street to the city and state.

Recent accomplishments: Accomplishments include: A first-of-its-kind agency services tracker, merging New York City agency spending, staffing and service indicator data to track impact of city staffing and spending choices; housing-focused reports on rent burden and rent relief distribution, uneven property tax growth distribution during COVID-19 and the rising cost of housing in New York City; MTA reports on fare revenue considerations, debt, capital needs, paratransit services and the authority’s annual financial outlook; an annual report on New York City securities industry and Wall Street bonus pool; and New York City labor force and demographic trend analyses, including city economic contributions to the state and on mothers and youth in the labor force.

Veronica Jarrett

Chief Financial Officer, Food Bank For New York City
Veronica Jarrett / Food Bank For New York City

Veronica Jarrett is currently the chief financial officer of Food Bank For New York City. She provides strategic leadership for the organization’s finance functions, including grant management, budgeting and forecasting, as well as business technology, inventory control and data and performance reporting. Jarrett has over two decades of experience in the nonprofit sector and had a nonprofit consulting business for five years prior to returning to Food Bank For New York City in 2017. Jarrett holds a master’s in business administration from Walden University and bachelor’s of business administration from Baruch College.

Recent accomplishments: Jarrett’s focus as CFO has been to strengthen her organization’s budgeting, forecasting and performance measurement capabilities to enable our leaders to make informed decisions and effectively allocate resources. Communication was a major area of focus and crucial for ensuring that internal stakeholders understand and engage in the organization’s financial health. The Food Bank made improvements to its grant management process and revamped budgeting, forecasting and progress reporting. The result was increased transparency, improved interdepartmental collaboration and more effective resource management. These achievements have strengthened the organization’s foundation for sustained growth and community impact.

Jacques Jiha

Director, New York City Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget
Jacques Jiha / Mark McCarty Photography

Jacques Jiha is the director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget. He oversees the city’s fiscal policy, including the development of the expense and capital budgets, the bond program and the budgets of over 90 city agencies and entities. He is also responsible for evaluating the efficiency and cost effectiveness of city services and proposals and providing vital information to government officials on the local, national and world economies. Under Jiha’s leadership, the city has weathered the COVID-19 and asylum-seeker crises – two of the most severe fiscal challenges it has faced in decades.

Recent accomplishments: Over the past year, Jiha has delivered fiscally responsible balanced budgets under the most difficult circumstances without burdening New Yorkers with tax hikes or layoffs. At the same time, he has ensured that the city will continue to fund vital services that New Yorkers need and deserve and has implemented Mayor Eric Adams’ policy agenda to make the city a welcoming place to live, work and raise a family.

Robert Knox Hayes

Wealth Adviser, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Robert Knox Hayes / Michael Benabib

Robert Knox Hayes has been a staunch New Yorker since moving to Manhattan in 2007. He graduated from Hunter College with a degree in philosophy and found his way into banking as a teller. Over the past 10 years, Hayes has worked his way up Bank of America Private Bank and now works in wealth management at JPMorgan Chase & Co. He puts his skills to use for the state as the treasurer of Equality New York, an organization dedicated to advancing the rights of LGBTQ+ citizens. Knox Hayes lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his husband, Paul-Sebastian, a painter.

Recent accomplishments: Providing webinars for early-stage nonprofits throughout the year. Equality New York and Hayes help guide other nonprofits in planning for their goals, setting expectations and setting up a budget to help achieve their missions.

Maya Kremen

Senior Executive, Geto & de Milly
Maya Kremen / Geto & de Milly

As senior executive leading Geto & de Milly’s municipal and state budget division, Maya Kremen works with nonprofit and institutional clients to analyze their financial needs and craft effective strategies for government budgeting and funding. Combining analytics, communications expertise and empathy, she develops thoughtful plans for clients’ philanthropic campaigns for productive engagement with key community stakeholders. An award-winning journalist with experience in politics and labor, Kremen also served as senior adviser to Rep. Jerry Nadler.

Recent accomplishments: In addition to working on complex land use projects like the transformational rezoning of Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood, Kremen was pleased to guide funding efforts for multiple nonprofits – educating decision-makers and the public, and securing critical Initiative and capital allocations. Some of the groups include GOSO, a reentry organization helping justice-involved young people build a stable future; Aperture Foundation, the renowned photography institution, which is expanding its space and public programs; New Alternatives for Children, providing vital services to children in need with disabilities; and Rainbow Heights Club, which provides culturally competent mental health care to LGBTQ+ New Yorkers.

Matthew LoCurto

Chief Financial Officer, JASA
Matthew LoCurto / Nick Carter

Matthew LoCurto is a proactive, tenacious and enterprising finance executive with over 25 years of success realizing cost savings and amplifying competitiveness by analyzing profit and loss, identifying wasteful spending, streamlining processes and spearheading data-driven solutions. LoCurto is a change agent who approaches projects with an owner’s mentality, always delivering beyond time and quality expectations by leveraging his deep knowledge of industries and strategies. He cultivates world-class teams by inspiring excellence and empowering, motivating and engaging team members, and he directs combined annual operating and capital budgets up to $575 million. LoCurto managed seven divisions containing up to 51 managerial and professional staff and seven departments.

Recent accomplishments: Streamlining the annual budget process; streamlining board and committee reporting making the process more transparent and easier to understand; developing cash projection models over the three major lines of business; restructuring two finance units to deliver efficient service; implementing internal controls resulting in two successive years of clean audits with no findings and questioned costs.

Robert McDonough

Treasurer and Trustee, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local One
Robert McDonough / Provided

Robert McDonough is the treasurer of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local One and a trustee to the pension, welfare, annuity and training funds. Local One is the premier stagecraft local servicing New York City, Staten Island and the Bronx along with Westchester, Putnam, Nassau and Suffolk counties. He is also a board member of District 10, IATSE (New York and New Jersey); chair of the budget and benefit committees as well as co-chair of the Local One political action committee; and fundraising member for the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund). Local One contributes to not only the Entertainment Community Fund, but also to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. McDonough has been a New York state general real estate appraiser since 1990.

Recent accomplishments: During COVID-19, the union was forced to reduce benefits to almost all of our funds. We are currently in the process of restoring benefits to 100%.

Darren M. Morton

Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer, Mount Vernon
Darren M. Morton / Brandon Brown, Brownz Photography

Darren M. Morton brings over 30 years of executive not-for-profit and public service experience in managing multimillion-dollar budgets. He currently oversees $148 million in public funds. Apart from his role as comptroller, Morton holds the position of treasurer for the Mount Vernon Industrial Development Agency and has previously served in finance roles for the Mount Vernon Urban Renewal Agency and Mount Vernon Public Library. Additionally, he serves as the senior pastor and CEO of the Macedonia Baptist Church, president of Macedonia Community Empowerment Corp., board president of Youth Shelter Program of Westchester and a fiscal fiduciary member of several not-for-profit boards.

Recent accomplishments: Since taking office in 2022, Morton has made significant strides in increasing transparency, accountability and public confidence in the city of Mount Vernon. In the past year alone, his administration has stabilized the financial infrastructure, completed the 2016 city audit and 2020-2022 Mount Vernon Industrial Development Agency audits, implemented an action plan for fiscal compliance, reduced the city's debt from $48 million to $36 million, secured $3.2 million in bond anticipated notes, and collaborated with the mayor to successfully negotiate outstanding collective bargaining agreements for three employee unions. These efforts strengthened the city's financial position and improved overall governance.

Carlos P. Naudon

President and CEO, Ponce Bank
Carlos P. Naudon / Ponce Bank

Carlos P. Naudon leads Ponce Bank, a federal Minority Depository Institution and Community Development Financial Institution founded in the Bronx in 1960. Ponce provides banking, loans and education to underserved communities throughout New York City, while supporting dozens of not-for-profits through its Ponce De Leon Foundation. Ranked No. 1 for community investment by Mighty Deposits, Ponce is committed to mission-driven banking and ranked No. 1 in housing focus among its CDFI peers while making 70% of recent mortgages to first-time homebuyers. Since Naudon joined Ponce in 2015, assets have grown from $700 million to $2.6 billion, and the bank is now publicly traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Recent accomplishments: Since joining Ponce Bank, Naudon has overseen several growth-inducing initiatives, including a two-step conversion of the former thrift into a public entity traded on NASDAQ, and seeing the institution certified a Community Development Financial Institution, which officially recognized the bank’s mission to serve low-to-moderate income communities throughout the New York City metro area. These moves fueled a four-fold growth in capital to $400 million through 2023, seeded by the bank’s participation in the Fed’s Emergency Capital Investment Program and CDFI-related grants totaling more than $4 million along with recognition at the top of several CDFI ranking categories.

Malini Nayar

Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer, Community Preservation Corp.
Malini Nayar / Community Preservation Corporation

Malini Nayar is senior vice president and chief risk officer at Community Preservation Corp. In this role, she is responsible for chairing the credit, risk and investment committees and leading the company’s real estate-related loan and equity transactions, and non-real estate related transactions. Nayar joined CPC in 2022 as senior vice president and chief credit officer, after having served as the chief credit officer at LISC New York. She has held positions at Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Nonprofit Finance Fund and TruFund (formerly known as Seedco) where she led lending programs targeting affordable housing projects, charter schools, health centers and small businesses.

Recent accomplishments: Last year, CPC closed loans and investments supporting the creation or preservation of over 1,950 units of affordable housing across the country.  Nayar’s role in creating this impact was pivotal to CPC’s overall financial health – she found impactful and creative ways to structure loans, and managed a portfolio of over $1.4 billion, while mitigating risk in a challenging economic environment. She also supported efforts to diversify CPC’s lending platform to a national scale.

Preston Niblack

Commissioner, New York City Department of Finance
Preston Niblack / Kisha Grant

Preston Niblack has more than 25 years of experience in city finances, including nearly 10 years at the New York City Independent Budget Office as a senior analyst and deputy director, after which he served as director of the New York City Council Finance Division under then-Speaker Christine Quinn. From 2016 to 2021, he was deputy comptroller for budget before joining the Adams administration as finance commissioner. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Middlebury College, and a doctorate in public finance from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Affairs.

Recent accomplishments: DOF collected $47 billion in revenue in 2023 to fund city services. In Albany, we were able to secure changes to our senior and disabled homeowner and rent freeze programs that will allow thousands more New Yorkers to apply for benefits. An overhaul to our website, coupled with introducing a new Property Information Portal, helps New Yorkers more easily find information and services from DOF.

Lauren O’Hare

Minority Director, Assembly Ways and Means Committee
Lauren O’Hare / Dino Petrocelli

Lauren O’Hare serves as the minority director of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. The committee provides critical oversight and analysis of fiscal policy and activity in New York, including state spending; economic, tax, and revenue forecasting; and the fiscal impact of legislation statewide. Leading a team of dedicated professionals, O’Hare oversees the creation of in-depth analytical publications and leads all fiscal communications with the minority members of the Assembly and the conference leadership. For over 25 years, she has worked on state finance in both the state Senate and Assembly.

Recent accomplishments: O’Hare is proud of her team’s efforts to provide their conference and New Yorkers with oversight and critical information on how their tax dollars are being used. New York boasts one of the largest economies in the country and has a complex budget process. With the economic uncertainties that the state has experienced, O’Hare’s role in forecasting the state’s economic condition and advising the Assembly minority takes meticulous coordination and strategic foresight. Cultivating relationships with counterparts in state government has allowed her team to build trust and promote transparency – upholding the principles of good governance.

James Parrott

Director of Economic and Fiscal Policies, Center for New York City Affairs at The New School
James Parrott / Citizens Budget Commission

James Parrott has analyzed the state and city budgets and economies for 30 years and regularly explores the connections between New York economic and fiscal developments and the city-state budget relationship. A former director of revenue analysis in the state comptroller’s New York City office, Parrott has authored a New York City tax primer and served on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2013 state tax reform commission and the 2019-21 New York City Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform. His recent work includes a comprehensive proposal to restructure the state’s unemployment insurance payroll taxes to alleviate chronic underfinancing. He is also a nationally recognized policy leader on gig worker pay standards.

Recent accomplishments: 

Accomplishments include: development of a comprehensive proposal to restructure New York State’s unemployment insurance payroll tax to reduce chronic deficits, enhance tax fairness, and update the state’s lagging benefit structure; and working with the state of Minnesota to establish a minimum compensation standard for ride-hail drivers modeled on the New York City pay standard he worked with the Taxi and Limousine Commission on in 2018.

M. David Reilly

Commissioner, Albany County Department of Management and Budget
M. David Reilly / Nusser Photography

After more than a decade in hedge and mutual fund operations, mostly in New York City, M. David Reilly decided on a career change and came to work for Albany County in 2013. He started with the county as the director of fiscal operations at the county-owned nursing home. After a year at the nursing home, Reilly transitioned into the Department of Management and Budget, working his way through a series of increasingly senior roles, before being appointed as the commissioner by County Executive Daniel P. McCoy in 2020 followed by a unanimous confirmation by the County Legislature.

Recent accomplishments: The most recent county budget was the third consecutive year with no increase to the property tax levy paid by the citizens of Albany County, continuing a priority of McCoy in having one of the lowest effective tax rates in New York. Operating under an investment policy Reilly authored in 2018, he was able to earn $15 million for the county in investment income in 2023. Also in 2023, Reilly was able to prepay $3.8 million in amortized pension expenses, saving the county hundreds of thousands in interest.

Andrew Rein

President, Citizens Budget Commission
Andrew Rein / Citizens Budget Commission

The Citizens Budget Commission is a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank and watchdog focused on improving the finances, policies and operations of New York City and state government. Under Andrew Rein’s leadership, the CBC spearheaded the successful effort to create a New York City Rainy Day Fund, developed blueprints to manage city and state budgets during the pandemic, identified efficiencies to balance the Metropolitan Transportation Authority budget and recommended policies to increase housing production. Rein has served as associate director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, executive deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and senior vice president for strategy of both EmblemHealth and NYU Lutheran.

Recent accomplishments: Under Rein’s leadership, CBC has been a strong voice and source of nonpartisan, research-based insight and perspective throughout pivotal budget and policy debates in New York City and Albany. Specifically, he has brought much-needed attention and expertise to discussions that are central to New Yorkers' quality of life, including: the city and state budget gaps and fiscal cliffs; the actual, bottom-line impact of city spending on services for asylum-seekers and migrants; and the need for the MTA to provide a more detailed five-year capital plan that includes cost estimates for keeping the transit system in a state of good repair.

Craig M. Scully

Partner and Chair, Government and Public Finance, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Craig M. Scully / Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

When state and local governments go to the bond market to finance public works projects, they bring Craig M. Scully with them. As chair of Katten’s Government and Public Finance group, Scully has more than 30 years of experience providing counsel on an array of tax-exempt and taxable financing transactions. He has served as underwriters’ counsel, borrower’s counsel, disclosure counsel and bond counsel to states, localities and government authorities throughout the United States on virtually every type of municipal security. Scully’s counsel to his local and state government clients helps them literally put their new infrastructure projects on the map.

Recent accomplishments: 

Scully’s recent accomplishments include: representing a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm and the investment banking arm of a financial services company in connection with financing activities and the tax-exempt municipal bond program, undertaken in connection with the redevelopment of terminals within an international airport; as well as acting as counsel to a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm in connection with an electric power pre-pay transaction for a public power utility. In the complex transaction, the firm was tasked with analyzing the tax treatment of sales versus transfers of power between entities with overlapping governance and developing a potential new financing structure to address certain IRS regulatory requirements.

Jed M. Shivers

Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, Stony Brook University
Jed M. Shivers / Provided

Jed M. Shivers joined Stony Brook University as senior vice president for finance and administration in July 2022 and is responsible for managing financial, administrative and facilities operations, helping to guide the financial direction for the university as it advances its mission of education, research and service. His portfolio includes budget, financial planning and analysis; human resources; enterprise risk management; information technology; finance, facilities and services. Shivers holds a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s in business administration from the University of Connecticut. His prior experience includes institutions like the University of North Dakota, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the University of California.

Recent accomplishments: Shivers was instrumental in analyzing and manipulating a short- and long-term pro forma model that defined Stony Brook’s financial position as the anchor institution for the Climate Solutions Center on Governors Island. Examining the necessary financing and operating models of a 30-year plan that included development funding, long-term debt and other capital sources, Shivers worked with members of New York City government, the Trust for Governors Island and partners of the New York Climate Exchange to present varying assumptions and position The Exchange and its affiliates/partners to effectively negotiate. He has also served as an executive sponsor for Stony Brook’s ERP implementation.

Sherif Soliman

Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, City University of New York
Sherif Soliman / Provided

Sherif Soliman has over 26 years of experience in government, including service in three mayoral administrations in New York City. He currently serves as senior vice chancellor and chief financial officer at the City University of New York, where he directs and manages CUNY’s financial and budgetary resources. Soliman served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Finance, and in various senior leadership positions in City Hall, overseeing the operations and budgets of over 20 agencies and developing policy in several key areas. Soliman is also a former board member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Recent accomplishments: A highlight of the past year was joining the senior leadership team at the City University of New York. As a lifelong New Yorker and first-generation American, Soliman feels a deep connection with CUNY’s mission and that it is a privilege to continue his career in public service at the indispensable New York institution and engine of upward mobility.

Nathan Toth

Principal, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies
Nathan Toth / Provided

Nathan Toth is a part of the Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies team as a principal lobbyist and consultant. Prior to this role, he had a 21-year career in New York City government as a deputy director in the New York City Council Finance Division, a director of capital planning for the New York City School Construction Authority and a supervising analyst at the Office of Management and Budget. Toth also worked in finance for Reuters America and New York University.

Recent accomplishments: In the past year, Toth was fortunate to be able to assist CPS’ clients in securing close to $50 million of funding from the state and city governments. Once this was achieved, Toth used his experience in government to help clients navigate the complex procurement processes that go along with these funds.

Brian Tregerman

Managing Director of Development, Met Council
Brian Tregerman / Met Council

As a seasoned professional in the nonprofit sector, Brian Tregerman has channeled his passion for giving back to his community into Met Council’s mission of empowering individuals and families facing economic hardship in the Greater New York region. Under his leadership over the past five years, the Met Council’s private philanthropy has quadrupled, allowing the organization to expand to serving over 325,000 people annually. With his extensive background in advocacy, fundraising, and strategic planning, Tregerman plays a pivotal role in the organization’s efforts to provide vital resources, support and opportunities to those in need.

Recent accomplishments: Over the past year, Met Council has expanded its services to serve more clients in more places, from Long Island to Westchester. As the foremost experts on religiously informed diets and the largest provider of free kosher food in America, the organization has leveraged this expertise into reaching more halal observant communities than ever. With this expansion, Met Council is one of the largest providers of free halal food in New York.

Milan K. Tyler

Partner, Phillips Lytle LLP
Milan K. Tyler / KC Kratt Photography

Milan K. Tyler is a well-known public finance attorney who has provided representation on bond work across a broad spectrum of transactions throughout New York state and beyond. He regularly serves as bond counsel for a number of municipalities and industrial development agencies as well as small, first-time borrowers spanning a wide range of industries. He routinely represents a broad client base, including municipalities, public benefit corporations and private entities. The projects in which he is involved are often transformative in nature to these clients.

Recent accomplishments: Tyler had another successful year representing an array of municipalities, public benefit corporations, lenders and borrowers in a wide variety of transactions. He is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

John Ulberg

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, NYC Health + Hospitals
John Ulberg / Roland Pugh, NYC Health + Hospitals

John Ulberg brings 25 years of experience in New York government and health care finance to his new role. For the past 10 years, he has served as the chief financial officer for the state’s Medicaid program. Ulberg served under five different governors in the state Budget Division. He has overseen fiscal matters related to the state Office of Mental Health’s network of 22 hospitals and outpatient programs. Ulberg earned his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his master’s in public health from the University of Michigan.

Recent accomplishments: Ulberg has been instrumental in applying his experience in government and health care finance towards ensuring the financial stability of NYC Health + Hospitals. Throughout the past calendar year, particularly given the health system's outsized role in the city's migrant response, Ulberg has helped the health system navigate its role while working with a range of vendors.

Allegra Valentino

Chief Financial Officer, Thorpe Village Inc.
Allegra Valentino / Provided

Allegra Valentino has been with Thorpe Village Inc. since 2020 and has been a certified public accountant in the state of New York for over 30 years. She is responsible for the financial management of Thorpe Village Inc., Thorpe Housing Development Fund Co., Dowling Gardens LP and Vincent’s Village. Valentino brings expertise in all areas of financial management and reporting with excellent communication and organizational skills. She graduated magna cum laude from Binghamton University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Recent accomplishments: Valentino managed a $22 million Fannie Mae refinance of existing HUD 223(f) loan. She also facilitated transfer of management for 93-unit LIHTC property and instituted accounting software upgrades for an expanding management company.

Patricia Vitelli

Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration, Westhab
Patricia Vitelli / Leslie Kahan Photography

Approaching 25 years at Westhab, Patricia Vitelli has managed the organization’s fiscal operations, supporting the organization’s growth from an annual budget of $20 million to $200 million and over 1,200 employees. While the opportunities for providing services and housing and building new housing have grown, Vitelli said the basic tenets for success remain the same: “Developing realistic budgets, strong operating policies with purchasing controls, and careful cash management ensure success!” Before Westhab, she had over 20 years of experience in real estate development and property management accounting and finance. Vitelli received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Fordham University.

Recent accomplishments: Always looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of her team, Vitelli recently oversaw the implementation of various software platforms to increase efficiency, provide for a cloud-based work environment and address cybersecurity threats. Her team has also focused on establishing safe cash investments and maximizing interest revenue in a rising interest rate environment.

Andrew Walrond

Vice President of Loan Programs, Fund for the City of New York
Andrew Walrond / Fund for the City of New York

Andrew Walrond orchestrates the daily lending operations to nonprofits awaiting city, state, federal or foundation payments. Through his collaborative endeavors, nonprofits are able to deliver essential services to New York City. Under his guidance, the Cash Flow Loan program has helped nonprofit and community-based organizations, disbursing a remarkable $1.6 billion in cash flow loans. He has a bachelor of science from UMass Boston and is a distinguished leadership fellow of the Coro New York Leadership Center.

Recent accomplishments: In fiscal year 2023, the Fund celebrated notable achievements, including a meaningful collaboration with the New York City Mayor’s Office to extend loan support to organizations offering housing and educational assistance to the migrant population. Additionally, the Fund disbursed loans amounting to $115 million, benefiting more than 200 distinct organizations, enabling them to sustain vital services for the people of New York.

Blake Washington

State Budget Director
Blake Washington / New York Senate OGS

Gov. Kathy Hochul has described Blake Washington as the Josh Allen of managing the state’s finances. That may not mean much to some, but coming from a Buffalo Bills fan, it is quite the compliment. His unique perspective in budget negotiations is an invaluable resource in budget development and determining the impact of legislation. Washington was previously with the Assembly Ways and Means Committee for 20 years, culminating with his service as secretary to the committee from 2015 through 2023. He advised the Assembly speaker and the Assembly majority on all budget and fiscal matters, and he served as the Assembly’s lead negotiator on the state budget.

Recent accomplishments: Appointed less than six months before the executive budget is constitutionally required, Washington hit the ground running to address the state’s $9 billion budget gap and began working immediately with his new colleagues in the administration, the Division of the Budget and numerous external groups to further develop relationships and trust he has built over two decades of service. The midyear update to the state’s financial plan was able to share better-than-expected revenues and measures to mitigate out-year budget gaps, Washington and Hochul navigated a $4.3 billion budget gap to present a balanced budget that reflected the governor’s priorities to make New York safer and more affordable, while maintaining record level reserves. These actions culminated in the largest state budget to date while setting New York on a path of sustainable investments.

Basil Webster

Chief Financial Officer, Graham Windham
Basil Webster / Graham Windham

Throughout successive career opportunities at Graham Windham, Basil Webster has been able to fulfill his life’s main value, which is attaining happiness through making a difference, – and being charitable. From his early years growing up in Jamaica, Webster tried to follow in the charitable footsteps of his grandmother, who was a kinship foster child, a lifelong foster parent and a strong advocate for the less fortunate in the community. At Graham Windham, Webster has progressed through the fiscal ranks to become chief financial officer for the past eight years, providing critical financial support to help the nonprofit’s programs and families attain their goals.

Recent accomplishments: I partnered with Graham’s board and executive team to implement a compensation initiative that pairs government funding with increased private giving to put the agency’s staff in the highest salary tiers among New York City’s child welfare agencies. This is a key component in attracting and retaining emerging talent to provide top notch care and get outstanding outcomes for our families. As chair of the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies’ downstate CFO group, I work collaboratively with COFCCA’s executives and other child welfare CFOs to ensure provider input to key government fiscal leaders – for example, the implementation of an improved New York City foster care payment system initiative.