Albany, NY - September 12, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced appointments to the Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments as well as the launch of the Board’s website at frb.ny.gov. The new Board will deliver targeted restructuring strategies and long-term solutions to help New York’s municipalities under fiscal distress. The first meeting of the Board will be held in Albany on September 23, 2013.
“Local governments across New York are facing rising financial challenges and we cannot afford to leave these issues unaddressed for any longer,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Financial Restructuring Board brings together experienced individuals from both state government and the private sector to offer assistance and help develop unique plans for localities to better manage their finances. These members will use their expertise to help our most distressed municipalities operate more efficiently and sustainability so that they can better serve taxpayers. The formula for this is simple: when each one of our communities does well, New York State as a whole will prosper.”
The Financial Restructuring Board will help eligible municipalities manage their finances and provide public services in a more cost-effective manner. The Board will also serve as an alternative binding arbitration panel that municipalities and unions could voluntarily use to expedite the resolution of contract issues.
In addition to the appointees announced today, the 10-member Board includes the Budget Director Robert Megna, who will serve as chair, the State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and the Secretary of State Cesar Perales.
Any local government, not including New York City, deemed a fiscally eligible municipality by the Board will be eligible to request review by and assistance from the Board, which will have the discretion to provide such review and assistance. The Board will be authorized to make recommendations on improving fiscal stability, management and the delivery of public services and to provide awards of up to $5 million per municipality through the Local Government Performance Efficiency Program. A total of $80 million is available this year through the program. If a municipality agrees to the Board’s proposals, it would be contractually bound to fulfill those terms.
At the agreement of the municipality and union, the Board will also serve as an alternative arbitration panel to the binding arbitration process for police, fire, or deputy sheriff unions. The Board would render an arbitration ruling within six months.
The Board’s website includes information about the services that it can offer municipalities and links to useful local government information. Once the Board becomes operational, the website will also include instructions on how a municipality can request a comprehensive review or a binding arbitration determination.
The Governor’s appointments to the Financial Restructuring Board are as follows:
Herman D. Farrell, Jr.
Assemblyman Farrell is appointed on the recommendation of the Speaker of the Assembly. Mr. Farrell was elected to the State Assembly in 1974 from a district that encompasses West Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood. In March of 1994, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver appointed Mr. Farrell Chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. He is also a member of the Rules Committee and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, as well as the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force. From 1979 until 1994, Farrell was Chairman of the Assembly Banks Committee. In 1983, Governor Mario Cuomo appointed him to the Temporary Committee on Interstate Banking. In 1981-82, he was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions of the National Conference of State Legislators.
Jack M. Martins
Senator Martins is appointed on the recommendation of the Temporary President of the Senate. Mr. Martins is chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Local Government. Prior to his joining the Senate in January 2011 to serve New York’s 7th district, Mr. Martins was Mayor of the Village of Mineola where he earned the reputation of being a fiscal reformer who provided tax relief during difficult economic times when taxpayers needed it the most by reducing government spending and creating greater efficiencies. Senator Martins is also on the Senate Standing Committees on Education; Transportation; Banks; Civil Service and Pensions; Corporations, Authorities and Commissions; Insurance; Labor; Libraries; Housing, Construction & Community and Social Services, and also served on the Governor’s Mandate Relief Council and Long Island Regional Economic Development Council.
RoAnn Destito is the Commissioner of the New York State Office of General Services (OGS). Ms. Destito previously served as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Operations, which includes legislative oversight of OGS. She represented the people of the 116th Assembly District from 1992 to 2011. During her time in office, Ms. Destito worked to advance Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises and promoted legislation strengthening ethics and lobbying laws. She championed open government initiatives and worked to support New York military families. Prior to her election, Ms. Destito spent a decade working for the New York State Assembly. She also served as Programming Director at the Muscular Dystrophy Association and as a research assistant at SUNY College of Technology in Marcy.
Matthew J. Driscoll
Matthew J. Driscoll is the President and CEO of the Environmental Facilities Corporation. Prior to his appointment in 2009, Mr. Driscoll was the Mayor of Syracuse where he spearheaded multiple environmental, energy and sustainability initiatives; instituted a performance-based accountability program for city government which saved millions of dollars for city taxpayers; and also helped make the City of Syracuse the first city in the country to offer free college tuition to every student who graduates with a Regents diploma. After serving from 1998-2001 as the President of the Common Council, Mayor Driscoll led comprehensive planning and development of downtown and neighborhood housing development, as well as an action plan for the modernization of the city school buildings.
Sydney Cresswell is a local government policy advisor for Governor Cuomo. Previously, Ms. Cresswell served as the Director of the Program on Local and Intergovernmental Studies (POLIS) at the University at Albany and as an Assistant Dean at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. She is the author of numerous publications related to local government restructuring, intermunicipal cooperation, and shared services.
Todd R. Snyder
Todd R. Snyder is executive vice chairman of North American Global Financial Advisory and co-head of the debt and restructuring group at Rothschild, Inc., a leading international investment banking and financial advisory firm where he is also Senior Managing Director. Mr. Snyder has been an advisor for Rothschild Inc.’s companies for more than two decades, including work with Emerald Casino, Dow Corning and United Airlines. Mr. Snyder is a member of the Gaming Commission and also served as part of Governor Cuomo’s Labor Negotiating Team, where he was instrumental in forging new contracts with the state’s public sector unions. He previously advised the Bush and Obama administrations on the restructuring of the auto industry.
For more information on the Board, visit its website at http://www.frb.ny.gov.