Municipal Forum of New York announces honors, awards scholarship

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The Municipal Forum of New York is honoring three industry leaders and awarding a scholarship to a deserving student.

The forum announced the awards, though the coronavirus crisis forced the cancellation of its 31st annual Awards and Urban Leadership Fellows dinner.

New York City Deputy Director for Finance Alan Anders will receive the Municipal Forum of New York's 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year’s honorees are New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, for the Public Service Award; New York City Deputy Director for Finance Alan Anders for the Lifetime Achievement Award; and Jefferies LLC managing director and joint head of municipal finance Kym Arnone for the Austin Koenen Achievement Award.

The three “have made outstanding contributions to the municipal finance industry during their long and distinguished careers,” said Marian Zucker, a member of the forum’s Board of Governors and housing sector lead at S&P Global Ratings.

The Muni Forum financially supports the Urban Leadership Fellows program, which it created in 1992 to introduce high school students to the municipal finance industry and encourage them to pursue careers in the field.

In the past it has provided paid summer internships for graduating seniors fromd city high schools interested in finance, government, public policy or law. The global pandemic forced the cancellation of the program this year.

Futures and Options manages the program. The nonprofit provided support to interns throughout the summer with one-on-one guidance and career development workshops as bond training, writing and public speaking.

Overall, 778 students have completed internships through the ULF program, with $930,250 in college scholarships awarded.

Stringer, first elected comptroller in 2013, is in his second four-year term. Previously he was Manhattan borough president and prior to that, represented Manhattan’s West Side in the New York State Assembly for 13 years. Early in his career, Stringer was a legislative assistant to state assemblyman Jerrold Nadler and won the assembly seat Nadler vacated in 1992.

Over two decades, he has championed such policies as a $15 minimum wage, affordable housing, the city’s fiscal health and open government.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer will receive the Municipal Forum of New York's 2020 Public Service Award.

Anders, who received the Municipal Forum’s Public Sector Award for Service in 2004, has played a leading role in the city’s bond financing since 1990, when he joined the its Office of Management and Budget. He is also executive director of the New York City Transitional Finance Authority, chief executive of the city’s Water Authority and president of the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corp.

He is an active member of the Government Finance Officers Association’s committee on governmental debt management and has previously chaired the committee.

Anders represented the GFOA on the Municipal Council and took a leading role in the creation of Disclosure USA, the secondary market disclosure central post office.

Arnone has been the head of municipal investment banking at Jefferies since November 2015. Previously she was a managing director and head of municipal securitization initiatives at Barclays Capital PLC. Arnone was also a senior banker at Bear Stearns.

She is recognized as the tobacco securitization expert, having led $57.2 billion of tobacco securitization spanning 53 transactions, or 73% of the total tobacco market.

Arnone won the 2014 Northeast Women in Public Finance's Freda Johnson Award, for women who are trailblazers, leaders, innovators and mentors in the industry.

The Koenen award is in honor of Austin Koenen, a former industry leader and outspoken proponent of municipal market overhaul. He died in 1998 at age 56. He was in the municipal market for 24 years, the last eight of which he was the head of - or a managing director in - public finance at Morgan Stanley.

Kym Arnone of Jefferies is receiving the Austin Koenen Achievement Award.

Koenen, a former chairman of the Public Securities Association, pushed for curbs on pay-to-play practices and for increased disclosure.

The Muni Forum also announced the 2020 winner of the Carey Gabay Education Fund Excellence Award. The first recipient of the award was announced in 2017.

Gabay grew up in NYCHA housing in the Bronx and went on to study government at Harvard University and then went to Harvard Law School. He was appointed as an assistant counsel for Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2011 and served as first deputy counsel for the Empire State Development Corp. until he was tragically slain in 2015 at age 43.

The Muni Forum established the scholarship fund in his memory. The Carey Gabay Excellence Award is a scholarship in the amount of $2,500 awarded annually to a former ULF intern.

This year, 24 former ULF interns applied through a competitive process that includes a long format essay. Three finalists were selected from the 24 applicants by the review committee, which consisted of Portia Lee and Caroline Cruise. Trenelle Gabay, Carey’s widow, selected the 2020 winner from among the final three students.

The 2020 winner is Kyle Morgan, a senior at Cornell University and a ULF intern during the summer of 2017 at Jefferies. Morgan is an applied economics and management major and is interested in pursuing a career in finance.

“I am sincerely honored to have been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Carey Gabay Education Fund Excellence Award,” Morgan said. “The Urban Leadership Fellows program completely changed my life and career trajectory. The organization provided me with an early introduction into finance and provided me many tools for success.”

He added that he has been tutoring students for the past several years in art, math and in preparation for standardized exams for free.

“Inequitable access to test preparation for students has a negative impact on lower income, multicultural communities,” he said. “Many young people, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, do not get a fair shot at economic opportunity as a result. Tutoring has made me a better student, improved my ability to communicate knowledge and opened my eyes to broader issues.”

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