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Campaign Updates

03/28/2018

New York Electeds, Fed Advisers Join Backlash Against New York Fed Presidential Selection Process

Sen. Gillibrand, Mayor de Blasio, New York City Council Members, upstate electeds, New York City and State Comptrollers, and Federal Reserve Community Advisory Council members call on NY Fed to go back to the drawing board

03.28.2018

NEW YORK, NY – Following rumors that the New York Federal Reserve board has chosen San Francisco Fed President John Williams as its next president, leaders across New York joined a wave of backlash building in the state and across the country.

Today, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, 17 members of the New York City Council, 35 local elected officials from Upstate New York, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, and members of the Federal Reserve Board’s Community Advisory Council, the New York Federal Reserve Board’s Community Advisory Group, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Community Advisory Council weighed in, questioning the New York Fed’s process and calling for a president who reflects the diversity of the region and has demonstrated they can effectively regulate Wall Street.

“For months now, the public has made its voice clear, and the New York Federal Reserve failed to listen,” said Shawn Sebastian, Co-Director of the Fed Up Campaign. “If the Fed Board can ignore this wide a range of public stakeholders, their very legitimacy should be called into question. There is still time to restart the process and do it right, and Fed Up supports Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for federal hearings so the public can actually ask questions of this vital nominee. No matter what the board decides, this broken process is proof that we need federal legislation comprehensively reforming the Federal Reserve from top to bottom.”

These letters and statements come on the heels of calls from Sen. Elizabeth Warren to hold hearings on the selection process and widespread outrage from economic policy experts and progressive groups. It also comes after unprecedented pressure for a more public, transparent process that prioritizes candidates who are strong advocates for full employment, effective regulators of Wall Street, and reflect the diversity of the New York Fed District, pressure that included a letter from 25 members of the House of Representatives and eight U.S. Senators and an open letter signed by a variety of economic policy experts and community groups.

“The New York Fed plays a powerful and outsized role in overseeing Wall Street and shaping our nation’s economic and regulatory policy, and needs a leader who will put the interests of working families first and bring diversity and a different perspective to the table,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). “The New York Fed has never been led by a woman or a person of color, and that needs to change. Well-qualified candidates who would bring diversity to the New York Fed should not be overlooked. It’s unacceptable that this powerful position is virtually unchecked by Congress, and we need a more transparent process, including Congressional oversight and a public confirmation process, to hold the New York Fed and its president accountable.”  

“The New York Federal Reserve Bank must be led by someone who will stand up for an economy that works for all of us – not just Wall Street and the 1 percent. Period,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"My office recently called attention to the problems with all-male corporate boards and why diversity benefits private companies," said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. "Our request of the Federal Reserve today is no different. Selecting the next president of the New York Federal Reserve should be an open process that places value on a diverse set of candidates who understand the economic reality of Main Street as much as they do Wall Street."

“The New York Fed needs to be led by someone who has the courage to stand up to Wall Street interests,” said New York City Council Member Brad Lander. “It is absolutely imperative to appoint a President who demonstrates a strong commitment to the Federal Reserve’s long-standing goal of full employment to help all Americans obtain good-paying jobs – and to select an individual who will increase the diversity of the Fed’s leadership, which woefully underrepresents people of color, women and people with experience outside of Wall Street.”

"As a representative of working New Yorkers, I know how critical it is to select a President of the New York Fed who embodies and values the diversity of the people the Fed is meant to serve,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. “I believe that the Fed must do more to listen to the perspective of the New Yorkers who deserve a fair and inclusive economy.”

“It is crucial that the next New York Fed president be a strong advocate for maximum employment and a diverse representative of our communities,” said upstate electeds in their letter. “She or he must be someone who understands the struggles many workers have experienced since the Great Recession, and will ensure that those perspectives--not just the perspectives of financial institutions--are heard within Fed deliberations.”

“The New York Fed Board's failure to listen to the public is deeply disappointing. Community groups, labor unions, and elected officials at the local, state, and federal level were clear about what they wanted,” said Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO of Policy Link and a member of the Fed’s Community Advisory Council, in a statement. “These requests have apparently been ignored, and the consequences could be devastating for the over 100 million Americans who are economically insecure and striving to access quality jobs and rising wages.”

“Too often, arguments for the independence of the Fed are used as a cover for insufficient transparency that leads directly to the clear lack of diversity in the highest levels of governance in the Federal Reserve System,” said Noel Poyo, Executive Director of the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders and a former member of the Fed’s Community Advisory Council. “The process for selecting the new President of the New York Fed has perpetuated this status quo, which undermines the public standing of its next President and, ultimately, ongoing support for the independence of the overall System.”

“The Fed [should] pursue an open, transparent process for selecting its next president, even if this means going back to square one,” said Deyanira Del Rio and Sarah Ludwig, co-executive directors of New Economy Project, in a statement. Del Rio is a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Community Advisory Group; Ludwig previously served on the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council. “It is not unreasonable to conclude that the foreclosure crisis could have been averted had the New York Fed president taken seriously and acted on the clear evidence that community groups presented. It is critical that the next New York Fed president be fully accountable to the public and not beholden to Wall Street. He or she should reflect the diversity of the New York Fed’s district.”

“Having the public involved in this process is critical to ensure that the President of the Federal Reserve of New York represents community needs,” said Paulina Gonzalez, Executive Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition and member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Community Advisory Council, in a statement. “I urge the Federal Reserve to restart this process, with full opportunity for public comment, in order to makes sure the next President can address our country’s economic issues in a way that serves low- and middle-income communities and communities of color.”

“The current selection process hasn’t been transparent, and appears headed toward the selection of the tenth white male in a row to lead the New York Fed,” said Orson Aguilar, President of the Greenlining Institute and member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Community Advisory Council, in a statement. “Years before the 2008 crash, The Greenlining Institute warned an out-of-touch Fed about a crisis brewing in the subprime mortgage market, but we were brushed aside by policymakers who had no contact with the communities affected. Because of their lived experiences, diverse thinkers are more likely to see, represent, and act on the issues that affect the communities that often get forgotten and left behind by our banks, regulators and overall financial system. We urge the New York Fed to bring diverse voices into the process and choose a president who understands the Fed’s impact on all American communities.”

Here are links to letters from the New York City Council, New York upstate elected officials, New York City Comptroller, and New York State Comptroller.  

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Media Contact:

Asya Pikovsky, apikovsky@populardemocracy.org, 207-522-244