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Staff Biographies

David Belkin. Mr. Belkin joined IBO in July 1996 and is a senior economist who has authored or contributed research to numerous studies of New York City tax and welfare policies. He is responsible for coordinating IBO's economic forecasts. Before joining IBO, Mr. Belkin worked for six years as a policy and budget analyst in the office of the Manhattan Borough President. He has published several articles and co-edited a book on comparative economic systems. Before turning to economics, he was a social worker.

He received his Master's Degree in social work from Hunter College School of Social Work and his B.A. from Adelphi University.

Elizabeth Brown. Ms. Brown is the supervising analyst for Housing, Environment, and Infrastructure. She joined IBO in June 2010 as Housing and Homelessness Analyst. Prior to joining IBO, Ms. Brown worked as a grant-writer at The Salvation Army of Greater New York where she raised funds for the organization’s homeless shelters, after-school programs, and other social service programs. She also worked for several years as a researcher/writer at The Center for Public Integrity, a non-partisan investigative journalism organization in Washington D.C., where she covered defense contracting, federal lobbying, and campaign finance. Ms. Brown has interned at the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, working on program planning and evaluation.

Ms. Brown has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a B.A. in Journalism from The George Washington University.

Robert Callahan. Mr. Callahan is a Labor Analyst for the IBO, responsible for oversight of pensions and fringe benefits for the city workforce; he joined the agency in August of 2017. In his prior life, Mr. Callahan was a consultant for The PFM Group working with municipal governments on long-range financial planning and operational efficiency in public safety. A Tennessee native, Mr. Callahan served as the policy analyst for the State Senate Democratic Leader for three years, building caucus proposals pertaining to higher education innovation and redistricting. He remains active in his neighborhood as program lead at the Imani Community Garden’s urban chicken farm.

Mr. Callahan received his Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, and his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Memphis.

Melinda Elias. Ms. Elias joined IBO in September 2016 as a health budget and policy analyst, focusing on NYC’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Health + Hospitals, and Medicaid. She has prior experience researching, analyzing, and reporting on health policy issues and economic and political developments in a variety of different settings and regions for both public and private organizations. Her research interests lie at the intersection of health policy and finance, health policy and economics, and health policy and psychology. She has published reports and commentaries on government healthcare financing, public health leadership, non-communicable diseases, and health system strengthening.

Ms. Elias received both a Master of Public Health and a Master of International Affairs degree in Health Management and Policy and International Finance and Economic Policy from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and School of International and Public Affairs. She also has  a B.A. in Psychology from Brandeis University.

Arash Farahani. Mr. Farahani joined the IBO in June 2017 to evaluate the existing New York City tax expenditures as an Economist. He uses multiple administrative datasets to empirically study whether a specific business incentive program is meeting its goals. Researching the relevant legislation, conducting interviews, and digging up the relevant data sets are also essential to the ultimate success of his evaluation studies.

Mr. Farahani is soon to receive his Ph.D. in Economics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His rigorous training in econometrics and extensive exposure to programming make him an efficient researcher. At University of Illinois, his research focused on public finance, public infrastructure, and urban and regional economics.

Monserate Fernandez. Mr. Fernandez joined IBO in May 2006 as MIS Director. Prior to joining IBO, he worked for five years at a private medical accounting firm as head of corporate information technology.

Mr. Fernandez attended the Rochester Institute of Technology and majored in philosophy and biotechnology.

Drejuan Guilty. Drejuan Guilty joined IBO as the Network Support Specialist. Prior to joining IBO Mr. Guilty worked as the IT Project Coordinator/Network & Systems Administrator for a Long Island based Law Firm. He also worked as the Systems Administrator for a Manhattan based international educational exchange organization. During his time at the Law Firm and the Exchange Organization Drejuan provided IT support for staff members, managed existing systems, and saw that high-level IT infrastructure projects were brought to completion.

Katie Hanna. Ms. Hanna joined IBO in May 2015 as a social services budget and policy analyst, focusing on children’s services, libraries, and cultural affairs. Prior to IBO, she worked at the Partnership for After School Education, where she analyzed program attendance and evaluation data and coordinated events. She has also interned on Phipps Neighborhoods’ research and evaluation team.  

Ms. Hanna received a Master of Public Administration degree from the Baruch College School of Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in History and Latin American Studies from Wesleyan University.

Daniel Huber. Mr. Huber joined IBO in 2015 as the Environmental Analyst focusing on parks & recreation, environmental protection, and sanitation. Prior to joining IBO, he worked as a consultant on business development in Brazil, as well as with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions as the Science and Impacts Fellow where he focused on federal climate policy and researched weather risk, climate change, and science communication. Mr. Huber has previously consulted for several non-profits and institutions in areas including sustainable development and carbon market analysis and was an occasional blogger for the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Huber has a Master’s degree in Climate and Society from Columbia University and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maine.

Michael P. Jacobs. Mr. Jacobs is the Supervising Analyst of IBO’s Economics and Taxes unit. Since joining IBO in September 1996, his primary responsibilities have been policy analysis and revenue forecasts of the city's personal income tax, and he has researched, written, and otherwise contributed to a variety of IBO projects. Before joining IBO, Mr. Jacobs was a revenue forecaster and analyst with the City Council's Finance Division and a research consultant to Governor Mario Cuomo's Advisory Panel on Financial Services at the New York State Department of Economic Development. He also has taught economics courses at several local colleges and universities.

Mr. Jacobs received his Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research and his B.A. from Oberlin College.

Stephanie Kranes. Ms. Kranes joined the IBO in September 2014 as an Education Budget Analyst. Prior to IBO, she worked in a health non-profit and teaching clinic in Pennsylvania, where she assisted clients from vulnerable populations with obtaining social and economic resources, and analyzed health data to understand linkages between economic instability and quality of health. She focused on the education of health and psychosocial wellbeing, primarily among individuals living with HIV, and co-edited a book of narratives of those living with chronic illnesses while confronting poverty and stigma. Subsequently she served as a research intern at Mount Sinai Hospital and clinical intern at Bridge Street Development Corporation in New York City while completing her master's degree in social work, in which she focused on statistics in the field, and the role of public educators and school social workers in improving access to health education among LGBT youth.

She received her Master's Degree in social work from Fordham University and her B.A. in sociology from Dickinson College.

Paul Lopatto. Mr. Lopatto, who joined IBO in August 1996, is the Supervising Analyst for Social and Community Services and also serves as the primary analyst for the Human Resources Administration. He has authored a number of reports on welfare and other social services programs in New York City. Prior to joining IBO, Mr. Lopatto was a Supervising Analyst with the Welfare Task Force at the New York City Office of Management and Budget. Previously, he was a research analyst at the Human Resources Administration.

Mr. Lopatto received his Ph.D. in political science from Florida State University. He received both his Master's Degree in political science and his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh.

Yolanda Lopez. Ms. Yolanda Lopez, who joined IBO in March 2007, is an Administrative Aide. Prior to joining IBO Ms. Lopez worked at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services from April 2005 to March 2007 as a Payroll Analyst overseeing about 525 employees and with the Department of Consumer Affairs from January 2001 to April 2005 as a Payroll Officer/Health Benefits Coordinator/Timekeeping Specialist.

Ronnie Lowenstein. Ms. Lowenstein was named Director of the New York City Independent Budget Office in August, 2000; she was reappointed for four year terms in 2002, 2006, 2010. and 2014. Ms. Lowenstein has been with IBO since its inception in 1996 and was its Deputy Director and Chief Economist. Prior to joining IBO, Ms. Lowenstein was an economist in the Domestic Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and taught economics at Barnard College.

Ms. Lowenstein received her Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University and her B.A. from Guilford College.

Lisa Neary. Ms. Neary joined the IBO in November 2004 as General Counsel. Before joining the IBO, Ms. Neary worked at the New York City Council Finance Division as Legislative Counsel.

Ms. Neary received her J.D. degree from Rutgers University Law School in Newark, New Jersey and her B.A. from Yale University.

Bernard O'Brien. Mr. O'Brien, who joined IBO in June 1996, is a senior budget and policy analyst who focuses primarily on city budget issues concerning the police and the criminal justice system. He has analyzed the relationship between police staffing and crime levels in New York City as compared to other large American cities, and has also conducted research related to the pace of criminal case processing in our state courts and its implications vis-a-vis local jail costs. Prior to joining IBO, Mr. O'Brien served as a legislative policy analyst with the New York City Council from 1989 to 1996, as a planner/analyst with the NYC Department of Correction from 1988 to 1989, and from 1987 to 1988 as a research associate with the NYC Board of Correction. In addition, Mr. O'Brien taught in New York City public schools from 1983 to 1986.

Mr. O'Brien received his Master's Degree in public administration from New York University and his B.S. from the University of Notre Dame

Yaw Owusu-Anash. Mr. Owusu-Ansah joined IBO as an Economist in May 2017. He provides budget and policy analyses on New York City property taxes. He produces reports on property valuation models as well as real estate, market trends and other factors as they affect property valuation. He researches and analyzes economic issues that affect the housing market. He also applies economic theory and advanced econometrics to analyze policy outcomes. Prior to IBO, he worked at NYC Department of Finance with the Property Modeling and Research Group where he developed programs and guidelines to value NYC properties. He also previously worked at Roubini Global Economics as part of the Western Europe research team. He worked on GDP and Euro forecasting, Europe housing markets, Europe sovereign and corporate debt crises, and other macroeconomics policy research.

Mr Owusu-Ansah holds a Ph.D. in Economics with a focus on macroeconomics, housing markets, structured finance markets, financial market regulation and risks in financial markets from Columbia University. He holds a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Mathematics from Brigham Young University.

Liza Pappas. Ms. Pappas joined IBO in September 2013 as an Education Policy Analyst. She has partnered with district, school, community, and student leaders and their families in education reform work for the past 15 years across the country. In New York City, she has worked as a qualitative researcher on issues concerning school governance, principal and teacher leadership development, school climate, school closings, bilingual education, and special education. She has served as an adjunct professor at both Hunter and City Colleges as well as a writing and communication fellow at both New York City College of Technology and Baruch.

Ms. Pappas has a Ph.D. in education policy and leadership from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She holds a Masters of Education degree in Policy and Management from Harvard University and a Masters of Philosophy degree in Urban Education from the Graduate Center. Her undergraduate training is in public and community service.

Conrad Pattillo. Mr. Pattillo joined the IBO in January 2018 as an Economic Development Budget & Policy Analyst. Prior to IBO, he worked as a Capital Program Management Analyst at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), where he was responsible for monitoring the MTA's capital budget and vetting requests submitted by the authority's sub-agencies to fund a variety of capital construction projects. His tenure at MTA also included involvement with its Bridge & Tunnel agency’s Enterprise Asset Management program, articulating strategy and building capacity for its business process management portfolio. Mr. Pattillo’s experience also includes several years at the Clinton Foundation as a program strategist, where he oversaw the organization's “History” initiative, which produced briefings and talking points on a variety of foreign, domestic, and fiscal policies pursued by the U.S. during the 1990s. He wrote extensively on Empowerment Zones / Enterprise Communities and the New Markets Tax Credit Program. In addition to internships in state government, he has also consulted on community and economic development projects for the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the City of Perth Amboy (NJ).

Mr. Pattillo earned a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Rutgers University, a Master's degree in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.S. in History from the University of Central Arkansas.

Cole Rakow. Mr. Rakow joined the IBO in June 2017 as an economist, working on the city’s business taxes. In addition to developing forecasts of business tax income for the city, his work focuses on potential changes to tax policy at the federal level and the potential ramifications that such changes might have on the city's budget. Prior to joining IBO, Mr. Rakow taught economics and research methods to both undergraduate and graduate students, while carrying out research about state and local taxation.

Mr. Rakow received his Ph.D. in public policy and administration from the Martin School at the University of Kentucky, and holds a B.S. from Truman State University.

Jonathan Rosenberg. Mr. Rosenberg joined IBO as the Director of Budget Review in November, 2016. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public sector budget analysis and review in New York City. Mr. Rosenberg served as the Executive Director of Budget at the New York City Comptroller’s office under Comptroller John Liu. Prior to that he worked for fifteen years in the Finance Division of the New York City Council where he was the Deputy Director for Infrastructure and Economic Development. Prior to joining IBO Mr. Rosenberg worked as the Finance Director at a small non-profit which provides counseling and family outreach for at-risk students in New York City public schools.

Mr. Rosenberg has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a B.A. in History/Political Science from the University of Rochester.

Joydeep Roy. Mr. Roy joined IBO as a Senior Economist in April 2010, focusing on education and education policy involving New York City public schools. Before joining IBO, Mr. Roy worked as an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, where his work focused on school choice and accountability, school finance and adequacy issues, teacher labor markets and topics in higher education. His research on high school graduation rates has been cited in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Education Week and USA Today, among others. He is the co-editor of the EPI Series on Alternative Teacher Compensation Systems and co-author of the book Rethinking High School Graduation Rates and Trends. He is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University.

Mr. Roy earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University.

Sarah Sayavong. Ms. Sayavong joined IBO in October 2015 as a SAS Analyst/Programmer. Prior to IBO, she worked as a data analysis consultant for UNICEF, analyzing country-level survey data for four distinct child nutrition programmes. Prior to moving to New York, she was involved in research and program evaluation for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Saint Louis University. 

Ms. Sayavong received her MPH and B.A. in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis

Indera Segobind. Ms. Segobind, who joined IBO in March 1996, is IBO's director of administration. Prior to joining the IBO, Ms. Segobind worked for the New York City Public Advocate's Office where she was the office manager for the community affairs/constituency services unit from 1994 to 1996. Ms. Segobind also served as the administrative assistant at the New York City Comptroller's Office in the community affairs unit from 1986 to 1994.

Ms. Segobind received her Associate Degree in liberal arts from LaGuardia Community College.

Yolanda Smith. Ms. Smith, who joined IBO in October 2006,  is a senior budget and policy analyst who focuses on Education. She previously worked in the NYC Department of Education since 2000 as an Education Analyst with varied experience in budget operations, categorical programs, and regional operations. Ms. Smith also gained rating agency experience at Standard & Poor's from 1992 to 1999, in the Public Finance sector.

Ms. Smith received her M.S. degree in Management and Urban Policy from the New School and her Bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sarah Stefanski. Ms. Stefanski joined IBO in March 2015 as the Housing and Homelessness Analyst. Previously, Ms. Stefanski was the Ed Koch Memorial Student Fellow at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University, where she performed data analysis and regulatory research related to the development and preservation of affordable housing. Ms. Stefanski also worked for New York State Homes and Community Renewal, overseeing residential energy efficiency grants funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Ms. Stefanski earned a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Languages from Bryn Mawr College and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.

Sarita Subramanian. Ms. Subramanian joined IBO in June 2009 as an education budget and policy analyst with a focus on capital budgeting. Before joining IBO, Ms. Subramanian worked in the Federal Reserve System for four years, first in Washington, D.C. and then in New York. During her time in the Federal Reserve, she provided data and charts for international financial markets in preparation for Board briefings in D.C. and researched trends and risks of commercial banks in the New York region.

Ms. Subramanian received her Master of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and her B.A. in Economics and Psychology from Wellesley College.

Tara Swanson. Ms. Swanson joined the IBO in September of 2006 as communications assistant and is now the production coordinator, digital and print. She previously worked as the communications associate at St. Bartholomew's Church.

Ms. Swanson is a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in English.

George Sweeting. Mr. Sweeting is deputy director of New York City’s Independent Budget Office; he oversees IBO’s work on economics, tax policy, revenue forecasting, economic development, and spending by city agencies. He joined IBO during its first year of operations in 1996, originally serving as a senior economist covering the real property tax. Prior to joining IBO, Mr. Sweeting worked for 10 years at the city’s Department of Finance in the Office of Tax Policy analyzing the city’s income taxes (business and personal), and later, the Property Division where he was responsible for policy analysis and quality control of the real property tax. While with the Finance Department he also served on the staff of the 1987 New York City Tax Study Commission and the 1993 Real Property Tax Reform Commission.

Mr. Sweeting received both his Ph.D. in economic history and his B.A. from Columbia University.

Alan Treffeisen. Mr. Treffeisen joined IBO in November 1998 as a senior budget and policy analyst who focuses on transportation and infrastructure issues. Before joining IBO, Mr. Treffeisen was an assistant professor of economics at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain. In addition to his teaching duties, he conducted research on the suburbanization of the Barcelona region. Mr. Treffeisen has also taught economics in the City University of New York system. His doctoral dissertation was on land and housing markets in Bogota, Colombia.

Mr. Treffeisen received his Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics, his Master's Degrees in city planning and transportation from the University of California at Berkeley. He received his B.A. from North Carolina State University.

Doug Turetsky. Mr. Turetsky joined the IBO in January 2001 as communications director, and was appointed chief of staff in 2004. He was previously director of policy and public affairs for United Neighborhood Houses. For more than four years he was deputy director for policy and development in the Manhattan Borough President's Office; he also served the Borough President's Office as deputy press secretary for one year. A former reporter, Mr. Turetsky was editor of City Limits magazine. He has written numerous articles on New York City and related subjects for local and national publications.

Mr. Turetsky received a Master's Degree in urban planning from New York University and his B.A. from Bard College.

Erica Vladimer. Ms. Vladimer joined the IBO in April 2016 as an Education Budget and Policy Analyst. Prior to joining to the IBO, she worked for the New York State Senate as the Education Policy Analyst and Counsel for the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC). In that role, Ms. Vladimer met with many education advocacy groups in order to develop sound policy and legislative reforms on behalf of the IDC. In addition, she represented the IDC at the Education and Higher Education state budget negotiations. Subsequently, she worked as the Director of Alumni and Donor Relations at Touro Law Center, where she worked closely with the Dean of the law school and Assistant Dean of Institutional Advancement to build a strong alumni base and increase fundraising efforts and participation.

Ms. Vladimer received her J.D. from Touro Law Center in Central Islip, New York, and her B.A. in sociology from the University of Connecticut.