Blue-Ribbon Panel Chaired by NYU Wagner Prof. Gordon Campbell to Look into Closures of Several Nonprofit Organizations
Gordon J. Campbell, Professor of Practice at NYU Wagner and Director of the school’s Executive MPA Program, is among two dozen seasoned nonprofit human services executives who have been named to a blue-ribbon Commission of the Human Services Council (HSC) to look into the closures of several large nonprofit human services organizations in New York City. Campbell, with more than three decades of experience as a government official and nonprofit leader, will chair the new Commission.
The role of the Commission is to seek to “understand the contributing factors from management and oversight to challenging fiscal environments” in connection with the demise of organizations such as FEGS, a $250 million health and human services nonprofit that recently shut its doors after announcing it had lost $19.4 million last year, and others. HSC works closely with city and state government.
“Over the course of several months, the group will evaluate the financial details, management decisions, government contract terms, and accountability systems of these organizations to gain a full picture and understanding of what caused them to close. They will also examine existing oversight approaches, including those required and those considered best practices, investigate the financial and other management decisions made, and identify funding and other systemic issues contributing to financial problems,” according to an HSC statement.
Professor Campbell most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of New York City, which creates, leads, and supports strategic initiatives that have a measurable and lasting impact in improving education, income stability, and health.
He was Chief Executive Officer of Safe Horizon, the nation’s leading and largest victim assistance organization, from 1998 to 2007. During his tenure, Safe Horizon was widely recognized for its compassionate and effective emergency response to the 9 /11 attacks. Prior to leading Safe Horizon, he served in senior positions in the Koch, Dinkins and Giuliani Administrations. He was the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Homeless Services and Chief of Staff to the First Deputy Mayor. In addition, he was Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations and a mayoral appointee to the City’s Procurement Policy Board. While at the city’s Human Resources Administration, he headed the Office of Medicaid Transportation and created and organized the Division of AIDS Services.
Before arriving in New York City, Mr. Campbell served as a prosecutor, a labor attorney, as well as the Chief Administrator for the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.
Bob Herbert, Lesley Stahl Discuss His New Book at NYU Wagner
Former longtime New York Times columnist Bob Herbert spoke about his new book, “Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America,” in a public conversation at NYU Wagner on October 15 with the noted television journalist Lesley Stahl.
Herbert, Distinguished Senior Fellow with the public policy organization Demos, which co-sponsored the event, said his interviews across America had deepened his view that the country was the victim of misplaced public priorities, such as sagging investments in infrastructure, “endless, debilitating” foreign wars, undue emphasis on “corporate remedies” for public schools, and near-silence about joblessness and poverty.
The seats in the Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue were almost all filled for the evening event. Welcoming Herbert and Stahl to NYU Wagner were Anthony Bertelli, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, and author and commentator Rich Benjamin.
Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, has called Herbert’s chronicle a “devastating portrait” of the United States. The author signed copies of his book at a reception following a question-and-answer session with audience members.
“One of the themes of the book is that I have basically lost faith in the political system and political leaders,” Herbert told listeners. “The politicians, the elected officials, no longer look out for the interests of the American people. They look out for their [wealthy and corporate] donors.”
Bohnett Fellows huddle with 200-plus mayors in DC
Bohnett Fellows from NYU Wagner joined with their counterparts from UCLA and the University of Michigan in attending the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. on January 19-21, 2011, with Professor Rogan Kersh. After sharing information, insights, and ideas with more than 200 of the nation's mayors and many other public service leaders, the Wagner students offered these reports:
"It was by far one of the best networking opportunities of my life. Most of the Conference participants were mayors, and between sessions there was ample time for me to walk up to people and introduce myself. I was amazed at how engaged many of the mayors were. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter must have talked to us for half an hour one evening: He was really interested in what we had to say and fielded all of our questions, including some pretty tough ones, with aplomb.
"I was incredibly impressed with the mayor of Oakland, Jean Quan. The conference included many speakers from the national stage, including Nancy Pelosi, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Trade Representative Ron Kirk, House Transportation Committee Chair John Mica, and Alaska Senator Mark Begich. These folks usually spoke for awhile and then took questions from the mayors. Almost without fail, Mayor Quan's hand would slowly rise, she'd be called on, and then, with perfect posture and composure, she asked the most pointed and well-informed question imaginable. It made me happy for the people of Oakland. They've got a real policy wonk running the place.
"More broadly, it was great to be around Republican and Democratic politicians talking about actual issues - from handgun violence to job creation - without reverting to demagoguery It was the sort of situation that might restore a person's faith in the American political system."
"When elected officials are talking about economic development, I expect to hear more about financial incentives than about public services. But the economic-development drivers the mayors were discussing included developing exports, attracting foreign investment, and producing a highly skilled labor force through education and workforce training. Mayors and federal officials echoed that cities must cooperate across other governments and sectors to succeed in these areas. It's not surprising that President Obama articulated some of the Conference's major themes in his State of the Union address of Jan. 25, 2011. Getting to speak personally to some of the mayors completely changed my perspective on urban government, and my work this semester is going to reflect it.
"The Conference was also the first time the Bohnett Fellows at all three schools were able to come together. I really connected with a Fellow from the University of Michigan over our work in Northern industrial cities. She lives and works in Detroit, and I came to NYU from Pittsburgh. I found that we could swap war stories about managing decline, but at the end of the day we were talking about common points of growth and battling inequality."
Elizabeth H. Guernsey:
"The trip to the Conference of Mayors winter meeting was definitely one of the highlights - if not the highlight - of my Wagner career so far. The access to and conversations with so many mayors was great. I came back from the Conference inspired to know that so many smart people are working in local government and really focused on making our cities great places to work and live. I was also struck by the mayors' signing of the Civility Accord in reaction to the Tucson tragedy. It was refreshing to hear the mayors talking about their cities in a nonpartisan way.
"A highlight of the trip was meeting with the Fellows from the other schools and hearing about the work they are doing in other cities. Another highlight was attending the Mayors Against Illegal Guns meeting, and hearing mayors talk openly about what they think needs to be done to protect public safety in our cities. The mayors were able to talk honestly and openly without worry that they might upset their constituencies."
The David Bohnett Public Service Fellowship for incoming Wagner students offers "...a great opportunity for students to directly engage in the challenges of governing our vibrant and diverse city," according to David Bohnett, Chairman and Founder of the David Bohnett Foundation. The Fellowship provides full tuition support and summer stipends for three Bohnett Fellows per year. These students must be enrolled in either the Master of Public Administration (MPA) or Master of Urban Planning (MUP) program and express an explicit interest in working for municipal governments to solve our most urgent social issues. The David Bohnett Public Service Fellowship also allows two fellows a terrific opportunity to intern at the highest level of NYC government. The third fellow gets to take on exciting work with the current President of the US Conference of Mayors, which has an ongoing partnership with Wagner.