This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Hevesi nominates Penksa for control board

Published: July 21, 2005

Reporter Editor

State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi has named Janet Penksa, UB associate vice president for government affairs, as his appointment to the control board that will oversee Erie County's finances.



"Erie County is facing a serious fiscal crisis after years of irresponsible fiscal management and needs experienced, courageous leadership to resolve this financial mess. This is why I am nominating Janet Penksa to the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority," Hevesi said. "Janet has more than 20 years of budgetary, government and management experience. She has led top-level budget negotiations, has a track record of building consensus among groups with diverse needs, and a reputation for candor and honesty. I have no doubt that she will distinguish herself even further in this new and critical position."

President John B. Simpson noted that UB "stands ready to lend its expertise to help Erie County address its very serious financial problems."

"We are very pleased that the state comptroller has recognized Janet Penksa's considerable expertise and experience in fiscal and economic matters, and has named her as his appointee to the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority that will oversee Erie County's finances," Simpson said. "UB is committed to providing the community with this kind of leadership in the areas of civic engagement and public policy. The county's fiscal stability and the quality of life in our community are important to all of us."

Penksa said she was honored to be selected to serve on the control board.

"I am committed to working with all those appointed to its board to restore fiscal discipline, vitality and integrity in our county government," Penksa said. "I want to thank the University at Buffalo and President John Simpson for their commitment to civic engagement and encouraging me to dedicate my knowledge and experience to improving our community's financial health."

Hevesi's office recently completed a review of Erie County's finances and recommended the creation of a control board. Auditors found that the county faces a 2005 budget gap of $118.4 million and attributed its growing financial problems to years of structurally imbalanced budgets, underestimated expenses and overestimated revenues, one-shot funding sources and the use of debt to pay for operating expenses.

The state Legislature passed legislation creating the control board, which was signed by Pataki last week. The legislation calls for seven appointments to the board—four by the governor, one each from the Assembly and Senate, and one from the comptroller.

A member of the UB staff since December 1998, Penksa manages and directs the operations and staff of the Office of Government Affairs and actively participates in the university's strategic direction and planning, local economic development and community activities.

Prior to joining UB, she served as vice president for the Center for Health Policy Studies in Albany.

Penksa worked for the New York State Assembly for 14 years, most recently as fiscal secretary to the Ways and Means Committee, a position in which she was chief advisor and lead negotiator for assembly leadership on all fiscal and economic matters, and also was responsible for final preparation of budget legislation.

In addition, she directed the committee's professional staff in economic, revenue and expenditure forecasting; statistical modeling; financial plan variance analysis; local government finances, including legislative development and review of various local financial control boards; and research and policy development. She worked and negotiated with the governor's office, the Senate, local governments throughout the state and special-interest groups.

Penksa also served the Ways and Means Committee as director of budget studies and fiscal affairs, deputy fiscal director, and fiscal and budget analyst.

She earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Binghamton University and is working toward a doctorate at UB.