Nisha Agarwal nominated by New York City Mayor to Conflicts of Interest Board

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Nisha Agarwal: Courtesy of Carnegie Council

Mayor de Blasio has nominated Wayne Hawley and Nisha Agarwal for two seats on the Conflicts of Interest Board.

Those nominees are subject to advice and consent of the City Council, and if confirmed, will become effective on April 1, 2020, according to a press release.

If appointed, Hawley will succeed Richard Briffault, and Agarwal will succeed Erika Thomas. These nominees bring extensive experience in the government and legal fields and in enforcing the highest standard of ethics for public servants. Mayor de Blasio also expects to name Jeffrey Friedlander, a current member of the Board, as Chair on April 1st.

“These two appointees are some of the best public servants New York City has to offer,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “If confirmed, I am confident they will uphold the highest standards of ethics and good governance, and continue in the great service done by their predecessors, Richard Briffault and Erika Thomas.”

“I am pleased to be nominated to the Conflicts of Interest Board, and if confirmed, I look forward to once again serving the City – this time as a member of the Conflicts of Interest Board. The Board’s role in promoting public confidence in government and protecting the integrity of government decision-making are things I truly believe in,” said Wayne Hawley.

“If confirmed, I would be honored to serve as a member of the Conflicts of Interest Board and ensure that the City will retain integrity and fairness to all City employees,” said Nisha Agarwal.

Hawley is one of the most respected figures in the history of the Conflicts of Interest Board, and most recently served as Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel. Hawley started at the Conflicts of Interest Board in 1999 as deputy counsel, serving under three Mayors, until 2017. Hawley’s time serving the board was dedicated to keeping integrity in our City government and preventing unethical conduct. He gave practical advice to over 20,000 public servants about ethics laws. Before joining the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, Hawley worked as staff counsel to the Cleveland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the director of MFY Legal Services. Hawley graduated from Claremont McKenna College and Yale Law School.

Agarwal served in the role of Senior Advisor to the Deputy Mayor to boost civic engagement among New Yorkers and build DemocracyNYC’s efforts on immigration, disability and healthcare.

Agarwal served as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, building landmark initiatives like IDNYC, the City’s municipal identification card, and Cities for Action, a national advocacy coalition of local elected officials.

Prior to joining the Administration, Agarwal, the daughter of immigrants, worked with the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to establish the Immigrant Justice Corps, a nonprofit that pairs recent law school graduates with non-profit legal services providers to offer free legal representation to immigrants. Agarwal was also the co-founder the Center for Popular Democracy and served as its Deputy Director. Agarwal is a graduate of Harvard College, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School.

The Conflicts of Interest Board is the independent New York City agency tasked with administering, enforcing and interpreting Chapter 68 of the New York City Charter, the City’s Conflicts of Interest Law, and Section 12-110 of the Administrative Code, the City’s Annual Disclosure Law.

Through a combination of engaging training, confidential advice, and vigorous enforcement, the Board seeks to prevent ethics questions from becoming ethics problems for public servants.

“Wayne Hawley and Nisha Agarwal represent some of the best possible public servants New York City has to offer,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, in a statement. “The Conflicts of Interest Board is what stands between a functional municipal government here in New York City that is for the people and one that could operate with other interests. The Conflicts of Interest Board really is the map that leads the way. Wayne Hawley and Nisha Agarwal understand this and I am sure they will work to uphold its mission and live up to its high standards.”

“Nisha Agarwal has a distinguished record of working with community partners to safeguard the rights of all New Yorkers, from building the critical IDNYC program to leading efforts to increase participation,” said Javier H. Valdes, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. “We congratulate her and the City on this important appointment.”

“Throughout her tenure, Nisha Agarwal has been one of our outstanding civil servants, overseeing major successful initiatives while upholding the highest standards. She is an excellent choice to join the Board and we look forward to working with her in this capacity as well,” said Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

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