Former Schenectady finance commissioner Ismat Alam will join the mayor’s office in Albany as the city’s new budget director.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan picked Alam to oversee the city’s finances when she announced her cabinet selections Friday afternoon. Alam, who now works as the chief finance officer for Proctors, worked roughly six years as Schenectady’s finance commissioner.
“I am confident in Ismat’s ability to guide Albany’s financial future,” said Sheehan in a news release. “Her work in Schenectady — putting into place policies that upgraded the city’s credit rating and eliminated a $10 million-plus deficit — will serve the residents of Albany well.”
Alam will inherit a $171 million budget — one quite a bit larger than any she’s handled in the recent past. She oversaw a $78 million budget in Schenectady and a $20 million spending plan at Proctors.
Alam has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University at Albany and has completed General Electric’s Financial Management Training Program. She will earn $117,000 annually in Albany.
Prior to her departure from Schenectady, Alam was criticized by some members of the City Council for padding the 2013 proposed budget. At the time, the state Comptroller’s Office advised the city to closely watch its expenses in 2013 because the city was facing a widening deficit.
The council ultimately cut her proposed budget deeply, causing Alam to voice frustration. She feared the cuts would put the city in a precarious fiscal state. The council, though, put the eliminated funds into a savings account that could be drawn from if more money was needed.
Philip Morris, Proctors’ chief executive officer, said Alam will work for the next week or so and then help transition to her replacement. He praised Alam’s ability with finances.
“She’s clearly well qualified to be doing what the city of Albany needs,” he said. “We’re going to miss her here.”
Sheehan also appointed Daniel Mirabile as commissioner of the Department of General Services; Jonathan Jones as commissioner of the Department of Recreation, Youth and Workforce; and Matthew Peter as her chief of staff. Peter was a fiscal analyst for the state Senate.