Carol Kostik, New York City's deputy comptroller for public finance for 12 years, is retiring on Aug. 31.
Kostik, 61, who has worked for three city comptrollers and is the senior of the eight deputies in the office, told staff at Comptroller Scott Stringer's office of her intentions on Thursday. She also worked under William Thompson and John Liu.
"I have always thought of New York City as a client, so to speak, coming from an investment banking background," Kostik said in an interview at the David N. Dinkins Municipal Building in lower Manhattan.
"I had one client, the city, and was able to dive deeply into finance and the budget and to think about how to get issuance prepared."
Working behind the scenes, Kostik during her tenure has managed the issuance of more than $110 billion of city debt to fund capital projects and to refinance high-interest-rate bonds.
According to Stringer, she has led municipal market initiatives that brought greater competition to city bond sales, increased the diversity of the city’s finance teams and built an investor information website with new communication tools.
Her presence also provided continuity to the office.
"Having the same deputy sends a message to investors and to the bond rating agencies," Kostik said. "Each of the comptrollers I had were good and different. They had the same dignity. This is not a political job. It's not a political function."
The comptroller's office has begun a search for a replacement.
The Municipal Forum of New York honored Kostik with its Public Service Award in 2010, and Northeast Women in Public Finance gave her the Freda Johnson Public Sector Award in 2015.
Kostik also helped the city’s debt program weather the severe market stresses of 2008 and capitalize on new financial instruments and historic low interest rates, and oversaw development of Stringer’s green bond initiative.
Navigating through the financial crisis was both dramatic and rewarding to Kostik and her staff. "We were able to maintain market access and continue to put dollars into our capital program," she said.
She also cited the expansion of minority- and women-owned firms doing business with the comptroller's office. These firms, she said, had only 13% of book-running seats at the table in 2006.
"Now it's at 31%," she said. "All these firms have earned it."
Thompson hired Kostik 12 years ago and his successor, Liu, reappointed her in 2010. Stringer retained her when he took office in 2014.
Kostik, before joining the comptroller’s office, was senior vice president and chief financial officer of the New York City Housing Development Corp.
She was also the founding chief financial officer of the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority, an oversight board, and a vice president in Merrill Lynch & Co.'s public finance department.
Kostik moved to the city in the late 1970s shortly after she graduated from Williams College with a bachelor of arts degree in political economy. She also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.