Comptroller: NYC Can Ride out Economic Turbulence

Comptroller: NYC Can Ride out Economic Turbulence

"The events of the last few days," New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. began in an appearance September 17 at NYU Wagner, "have been astonishing."

Speaking at a morning briefing co-sponsored by the Wagner School of Public Service and the Citizens Union, Thompson said that New York City can ride out rough turbulence affecting the economy with the same resolve and resiliency it showed more than 30 years ago during a brush with municipal bankruptcy, and in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

"With every downturn New Yorkers have encountered, our city has rebounded stronger than before," the two-term comptroller said at the briefing session co-sponsored by the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the Citizens Union. "That is the spirit of New York. We are fighters. We are resilient. We are innovators."

Thompson spoke only hours after the Federal Reserve had worked out an unparalleled $85 billion rescue of American International Group, the latest dramatic development in the financial crisis involving mortgage-related assets. "Uncertainty is in the air," he said.

In his hour-long talk, Thompson sought to ensure city retirees and others that the city's pension funds are secure and are cushioned against by ups and downs in the financial markets.

"As Comptroller," he said, "I'm the chief investment adviser to our city's pension plans, and it's important to me to assure the retirees that the pensions are safe and secure. We've been reducing our exposure to risk by diversifying our portfolio beyond stocks and bonds. This approach is helping us weather these tough times better than we would have ever before."

Thompson also underscored his opposition to an effort by the City Council to extend, from two to three, the number of terms that a city official can serve. Thompson is contemplating a run for mayor next year to succeed Michael Bloomberg.

"The people have said that there are two terms," he said. "To undermine their will, to do an end-run around democracy is just wrong."

The breakfast briefing was part of an NYU Wagner/Citizens Union series that will pick up again on October 7 with a visit by Eric Gioia, two-term member of the City Council from Woodside, Queens.

On November 12, Scott Stringer, the Manhattan Borough President, who is also looking to succeed Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, will be the featured guest of the breakfast series.

Last spring, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and John Liu, councilman from Flushing, Queens, who is a prospective candidate for the public advocate's post, also appeared at Wagner as part of the series.


Conference on Social Theory, Politics and the Arts, Oct. 11-13

Conference on Social Theory, Politics and the Arts, Oct. 11-13

On October 11th, 12th and 13th, the Conference on Social Theory, Politics and the Arts (STP&A) -- the premier arts and cultural policy conference - will be conducted for the first time in more than a decade in New York City, and the first time ever at NYU. The 33rd annual conference, which was held last year in Vienna, Austria, will be chaired by NYU Wagner Professor Ruth Ann Stewart. It begins Thursday evening, Oct. 11, 2007, with an opening reception in the Puck Building in Manhattan, the landmark home of the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. About 200 scholars, artists, and cultural-organization leaders from 26 countries and 22 states throughout the U.S. are expected to attend the conference and share their professional experience and research findings through papers and panels. The six conference themes are: Artists, Activism, and Social Change; Leadership in, of, and through the Arts; Sustaining Cultural Industries and Organizations; Role of the Arts in Bridging Ethnic, Cultural, and Regional Differences; Cultural Planning, Development, and Economics; Urban Revitalization and the Arts.

The online conference schedule can be found at Anyone interested in attending this exciting event may contact the Conference Coordinator, Darren Flusche, at

Conversations in Public Service with US Trust's Linda Franciscovich.

Conversations in Public Service with US Trust's Linda Franciscovich.

Linda Franciscovich, a managing director and manager of Philanthropic Advisory Services at U. S. Trust, will be the featured speaker at the next Conversations in Public Service, to be held Friday, April 30, at 8:30am. If you are interested in participating, send an e-mail to with your name, degree, specialization, year of graduation, and a short statement indicating your career interests and reasons for wishing to attend (so that Dean Schall can introduce you at the event). The deadline to submit this e-mail is Friday, April 23rd at 5 pm. We will notify the students who have been selected by Tuesday, April 27th.


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