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Staff Biographies

Jacob Berman. Jacob is the assistant director for the Social and Community Services team. He joined IBO is January 2022. Previously, Jacob was an analyst in the Mayor’s Office Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence (CIDI). At CIDI, Jacob conducted big data research and policy projects spanning New York City’s health and human services agencies. Jacob also has previous experience at Everytown for Gun Safety and the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington DC. Outside of work, Jacob enjoys ballroom dancing, which he used to compete in, and going for walks in Central Park with his dog Luna (objectively the greatest dog in the known universe). Jacob earned a master’s in public administration from New York University and a B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Melissa Budhua. Melissa joined IBO in March 2018 as an administrative assistant responsible for timekeeping and accounts payable. She has worked for Kelly & Co., an executive search firm, and interned at the city’s Department of Education. She has volunteered at AHRC-NYC, an organization serving people with developmental disabilities, and Girls Speak Out at the United Nations. Melissa lives in Brooklyn and enjoys reading, working out, and seeing the sights of the city. She has a B.A. in business finance from Pace University.

Elizabeth Brown. Elizabeth was named IBO’s communications director in August 2021. She joined IBO in 2010 and has served the agency in several roles over the years, including as our housing and homeless analyst, the supervisor of our Housing, Environment, and Infrastructure unit, and as a senior tax expenditure analyst. Prior to joining IBO, Elizabeth was a researcher/writer at The Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan investigative journalism organization in Washington D.C. When not at work Elizabeth enjoys traveling, reading, and building cities with her children. Elizabeth has a master’s in public administration from New York University and a B.A. from The George Washington University.

Brian Cain. Brian joined IBO in August 2022 as the Budget Review Analyst. He is a licensed CPA and worked for two years as an auditor at Ernst & Young. During graduate school he focused on municipal budgeting, working with eight different cities on a wide array of budgeting projects. Brian has been in the Northeast his whole life: he grew up in Vermont, attended college in Rhode Island, worked at EY in Boston, and completed graduate school in Cambridge. He moved to New York City in summer 2022. In his free time, he loves to cook, travel, play tennis, and explore his new city. Brian received his master’s in public policy from Harvard and a B.A. from Providence College.

Logan Clark. Logan is the Assistant Director of Budget Review. He joined IBO in September 2022, after six years working in various portfolios at the NYC Office of Management and Budget. During his time there he worked on issues relating to open space, waste and refuse management, capital planning, federal disaster grant programs, and government operations. When not at work, Logan enjoys cooking, reading, old RPG and strategy games, and hanging with his wife and cats. A recovering lax bro, he also will play whatever sports his knees will permit him, which is currently government league softball, municipally owned pitch and putt, and some East Coast skiing. Logan has his B.A. from McGill University and an M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia University.

Melinda Elias. Melinda became IBO’s health budget and policy analyst in September 2016. Her prior experience includes researching, analyzing, and reporting on health policy issues and economic and political developments for public and private organizations and has published reports and commentaries on government health financing, noncommunicable diseases, and related topics. A native of Singapore, she now lives on the Upper West Side and enjoys weekend travel and collecting antiques and vintage books. Melinda received a master’s of public health and a master’s of international affairs from Columbia University and B.A. from Brandeis University.

Monserate Fernandez. Monserate joined IBO as MIS director in May 2006 and has kept our expanding technology network online since then. He previously worked for five years at a medical accounting firm as head of corporate information technology. A student of philosophy and biotechnology, Monserate attended the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Drejuan Fitzpatrick. Before joining IBO as our network support specialist in January 2015, Drejuan served in the dual role of IT project coordinator and network & systems administrator for a Long Island law firm. He also previously worked as a systems administrator for an international education exchange organization. In both jobs Drejuan provided IT support to staff, managed existing systems, and executed major IT projects.

Pooya Ghorbani. Pooya is a senior economist who joined IBO in 2018. His focus is personal income tax forecasting and analysis, and his research covers topics related to property tax, labor economics, and income inequality. Before coming to IBO, he worked as a research fellow for over four years for the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and the Rockefeller Institute of Government, exploring issues related to disaster recovery and resiliency. He has also published studies on local and national housing issues and urban economics. In his spare time, Pooya closely follows neighborhood change in Brooklyn, gets lost in literature and maps, and forces people to bring him stones from places he has not had a chance to visit. Pooya earned both his Ph.D. and master’s in public and urban policy at The New School.

Alec Goodwin. Alec joined IBO in March 2020 as the housing and buildings budget and policy analyst. Prior to IBO, Alec studied media and political economy as a researcher at the University of Toronto. He has also worked as a journalist, reporting on campaign finance and the 2016 presidential election. Born and raised in Toronto, he now lives in Manhattan. Alec received an MPhil in economics from the University of Oxford and an A.B. from the University of Chicago.

Tainá Guarda. Tainá is a senior education budget and policy analyst who joined IBO in July 2018 as an education budget and policy analyst with a specialization in data visualization. Before arriving at IBO she created the data visualizations for a report on segregation and school choice by the Center for New York City Affairs and provided research on higher education for the Professional Staff Congress. Tainá has a wide variety of interests and on most nights or weekends she can be found at a concert, art gallery, museum, or a meet up about data and technology. She has a master’s in environmental policy and sustainability from The New School and another in moving image archive studies from the University of California at Los Angeles as well as a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

Michael P. Jacobs. Michael is the assistant director for our Economics and Taxes unit. He joined IBO in September 1996 as one of our original staff members. Michael’s previous experience includes working as a revenue forecaster and analyst with the City Council's Finance Division and as a research consultant to Governor Mario Cuomo's Advisory Panel on Financial Services at the New York State Department of Economic Development. A Brooklyn native, Michael enjoys travel—he has made it to 47 states—and is an avid hiker and filmgoer. He received his Ph.D. in economics from The New School and B.A. from Oberlin College.

Julia Konrad. Julia joined IBO in June 2022 as an education budget and policy analyst. Previously, she studied housing policy and government responses to the pandemic as a research assistant at the NYU Furman Center. Before that, Julia taught 11th grade U.S. history at a Brooklyn public school. She loves to visit NYC’s parks, where you might find her biking or rollerblading, looking for birds, or spending time with friends. Julia received her master’s in public administration from NYU Wagner, her master’s in education from Vanderbilt University, and her B.A. from Harvard College.

Stephanie Kranes. Stephanie, an education budget and policy analyst, joined IBO in September 2014. In June 2021, she was named Senior Budget and Policy Analyst. Her previous experience includes working in hospitals and clinics in Pennsylvania, where she was a case manager for HIV-affected patients and analyzed health data to understand linkages between economic instability, depression, and quality of health. Stephanie later served as a research intern at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. At IBO Stephanie has been observed eating lettuce out of a bag at random times, but this has not precluded her from maintaining the agency’s cookbook. She earned a master’s in social work from Fordham University and a B.A. from Dickinson College.

Nicholas Martin. Nicholas joined IBO in October 2019 as an education budget and policy analyst. Before joining IBO, he worked as a research assistant at the Center for New York City Affairs. He also has been a middle school math teacher, public health program coordinator, and gene therapy research technician. Outside of work, Nicholas can be found playing or watching soccer and exploring the city for new places to run. He has a M.S. in public and urban policy from The New School and a B.S. from Haverford College.

Lisa Neary. Lisa was named IBO's chief of staff in August of 2021. She joined IBO as general counsel in November 2004. Before joining IBO, she worked at the New York City Council Finance Division as legislative counsel. Lisa received her J.D. from Rutgers University and her B.A. from Yale University.

Bernard O'Brien. Bernie joined IBO in June 1996 as one of the agency’s first staff members. He is now a senior budget and policy analyst focusing primarily on the police and the criminal justice system. He previously served as a legislative policy analyst with the New York City Council from 1989 until he joined IBO, and has also worked as a planner/analyst with the city’s Department of Correction and as a research associate with the city’s Board of Correction. In addition, Bernie taught in New York City’s public schools for several years. An Indiana native, he has recently been a volunteer for Big Apple Greeter, which helps tourists from around the world get acclimated to the city. Bernie received his master’s in public administration from New York University and a B.S. from the University of Notre Dame.

Yaw Owusu-Ansah. Yaw is an economist who joined IBO in May 2017 specializing in the city’s property tax. He previously worked in the property modeling and research group at the city‘s Department of Finance developing programs and guidelines to value city properties. He has also worked at Roubini Global Economics as part of the Western Europe research team. Yaw enjoys sports, the arts, including architecture and design, and traveling. He earned a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University and a B.A. from Brigham Young University.

Jordan Paige. Jordan joined IBO in July 2022 as an environmental budget and policy analyst, focusing parks and recreation, environmental protection, and sanitation . Jordan hails from North Carolina where in prior roles, he spent time working as a budget and evaluation analyst for the City of Winston-Salem and as a data analyst for Downtown Greensboro Incorporated. As a newly minted New York City resident, Jordan spends his time venturing around the city exploring places to play basketball, roller skate, bike ride, and visiting museums. Jordan attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he earned his B.A. and master’s in public affairs.

Emily Pramik. Emily joined IBO as its transportation budget and policy analyst in October 2021. Emily previously worked for the New York City Department of City Planning’s Capital Planning Division. She has also served as a Fellow with the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab, assisting the State of Rhode Island in the performance management and evaluation of new job training strategies. Emily began her policy career as a research assistant at MDRC. When not in the office, she can be found exploring the city’s small museums or spending quality time with her cat, Luigi. Emily has a Master’s of Public Policy from the University of Michigan and an A.B. from the University of Chicago.

Cole Rakow. Cole joined IBO in June 2017 as an economist, focusing on the city’s business taxes, including keeping tabs on how federal tax changes could affect local revenue. In June 2021, he became Senior Economist. Prior to joining IBO, Cole taught economics and research methods to both undergraduate and graduate students, while carrying out research about state and local taxation. He hails from the Chicago suburbs and spent the six years before coming to IBO living in Lexington, Kentucky. His after-work interests include architecture, especially of New York’s iconic bridges, and classical music. Cole received his Ph.D. in public policy and administration from the University of Kentucky and B.S. from Truman State University.

Yolanda Rodriguez. Yolanda is an excutive assistant, who was born, raised, and still lives in Brooklyn. She came to IBO in March 2007 as an administrative assistant after working for two years at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and four years at the Department of Consumer Affairs. She has experience in purchasing, payroll, and timekeeping.

Joydeep Roy. Joydeep came to IBO in April 2010 as one of the first members of our expanded education research team. An economist by training, he previously worked at the Economic Policy Institute, where his research focused on school choice and accountability, school finance and adequacy issues, teacher labor markets, and topics in higher education. He has published articles in a number of academic journals and coauthored a book on high school graduation rates and trends. Joydeep earned a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University and his B.A. from Presidency College.

Sarah Sayavong. Sarah is a senior database manager. She joined IBO in October 2015 as a SAS analyst/programmer and in 2017 was promoted to data manager. Sarah previously worked as a data analysis consultant for UNICEF and was involved in research and program evaluation for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Saint Louis University. Raised in a small town in Illinois, Sarah has lived in New York City since April 2015. She enjoys ballet, opera, and the symphony and claims to have the best cat in the world. Sarah received her master’s in public health and B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis.

Indera Segobind. Indera became one of IBO’s first employees when she joined the agency in May 1996. She is now IBO's director of administration. Before coming to IBO, Indera held administrative positions in the Offices of the Public Advocate and City Comptroller for 10 years. A native of Guyana, she now lives in Brooklyn and keeps an herb garden year-round. Indera earned an A.D. in liberal arts from LaGuardia Community College.

Jacqueline Sherman. Jackie Sherman joined IBO as General Counsel in February 2022. Before coming to IBO, Jackie was the Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel of JCCA, a non-profit child welfare and children’s behavioral health agency. Prior to JCCA, Jackie worked for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, launching the City’s Close to Home Initiative. She has also served as General Counsel in the Office of the New York City Public Advocate, and as legislative counsel for the New York City Council’s Committee on General Welfare. Jackie received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A. from Amherst College. Jackie enjoys baking and bicycling in her spare time.

Yolanda Smith. Yolanda joined IBO in October 2006 and is now a senior budget and policy analyst in our Education unit. Additionally, she serves as our Equal Employment Opportunity officer. Yolanda previously worked in the city’s Department of Education as a budget team leader. She has also worked for Standard & Poor's as a municipal finance associate director. A featured blogger on Govloop.com in 2017, Yolanda has also served on her local community board and in her spare time volunteers to teach teens about personal finance. Yolanda received her M.S. degree in management and urban policy from The New School and B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sarah Stefanski. Sarah is the asistant director for the Housing, Environment, and Infrastructure team. She joined IBO as a housing and homelessness analyst in 2015. Previously, Sarah was the Ed Koch Memorial Student Fellow at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University. Sarah’s role at the Furman Center focused on data analysis and regulatory research related to affordable housing development and preservation. Her experience in housing also includes overseeing residential energy efficiency grants for New York State Homes and Community Renewal. Outside of IBO, Sarah can be found wearing a tartan as a Scottish country dancer and playing viola in orchestral and chamber music groups. Sarah earned a master’s in public administration from New York University and a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College.

Sarita Subramanian. Sarita is the assistant director for our Education unit. She joined IBO in June 2009 as an education budget and policy analyst with a focus on capital budgeting. Sarita previously worked in the Federal Reserve System for four years, first in Washington, D.C. and then in New York. When not at work Sarita enjoys knitting, playing with Legos of all sizes with her two sons, and is an avid watcher of sports—tennis, soccer, baseball (Mets!) and hockey (Rangers!). She received her master’s in public administration from Columbia University and B.A. from Wellesley College.

Tara Swanson. Tara joined IBO in September 2006 as communications assistant and is now the production coordinator for our digital and print publications and resources. A Staten Island native who now lives in Brooklyn, Tara previously worked as the communications associate at St. Bartholomew's Church. When not crocheting in her off hours, Tara enjoys going to museums and then posting snarky tweets about the art. Tara graduated with a B.A. in English from York College of Pennsylvania.

George Sweeting. George is IBO’s acting director and supervises our research, analysis, and projections. He joined IBO in August 1996, its first year of operations, as a senior economist covering the real property tax. Prior to IBO, George 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. He also served on the staff of the 1987 New York City Tax Study Commission and the 1993 Real Property Tax Reform Commission. George is a one-time hockey player and life-long fan of the New York Rangers. He received both his Ph.D. in economic history and B.A. from Columbia University.

Alan Treffeisen. Alan is a senior economistwho focuses on real estate taxes. He joined IBO in November 1998. He was previously an assistant professor of economics at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain, where he also conducted research on the suburbanization of the Barcelona region. Alan has also taught economics in the City University of New York system. He has a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics and a master's in city planning and transportation from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. from North Carolina State University.

Alaina Turnquist. Alaina joined IBO in August of 2022 as the economic development budget and policy analyst focusing on small business services, the city’s Economic Development Corporation, and city planning. Before coming to IBO, Alaina worked in performance auditing for the City of Austin as well as at the federal level with the Government Accountability Office. She is originally from the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) where she spent time working in non-profit development for an organization specializing in food security. In her personal time, Alaina is an avid runner, reader, and cook. She enjoys discovering new music, especially anything related to theatre and classical choral music. Alaina received her B.A. from Bethel University and her master’s in public affairs from the University of Texas.

Vanessa Witenko. Vanessa joined IBO in 2018 as an education budget and policy analyst. Prior to IBO, she conducted research on educational inequality and evaluated programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM grant. As a former journalist, she visited more than 200 New York City public schools and reported on the city’s education policies and programs. In her spare time, she enjoys attending art events, camping, and jumping in the ocean waves. She holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a B.A. from Baruch College, City University of New York.