New York State Governor-elect George Pataki has appointed to a key transition committee a public finance executive with ties to the state's Democratic Party, a move that has sparked criticism from within his own ranks.
Recently, the Republican named Ronald A. Stack, a vice president at Goldman, Sachs & Co., as one of 10 members of a budget task force headed by Assemblyman John J. Faso, RKinderhook.
The group will make recommendations on the selection of a new state budget director and changes in the state's budget. Specifically, the task force will advise Pataki on how he can implement his dramatic tax cut plan, and plug a $4 billion gap in the state's fiscal 1996 budget, which begins April 1, 1995.
But in recent days, Stack's connections with the state's Democratic Party have had many Republican and Conservative Party members concerned and upset that an outsider will be privy to sensitive budget information, and that Pataki didn't tum to one of his own in making the appointment.
Stack served as deputy secretary to former Democratic Gov. Hugh L. Carey. In that post, Stack was responsible for "oversight of various economic development and fiscal activities," according to a biographical statment obtained from Goldman Sachs.
Stack is also one of the investment bankers responsible for Goldman's relationship with the administration of Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, whom Pataki defeated in the Nov. 8 election. Market sources say Stack has developed close ties with staff members and officials in the state's budget division, including Cuomo's budget director, Rudy Runko.
A Pataki spokeswoman could not be reached for comment on the matter. But Conservative Party chairman Michael Long, who is one of Pataki's closest advisers, said he has been "inundated" with telephone calls from Republicans and Conservatives who work on Wall Street and are irate over Stack's appointment.
Long said yesterday he will discuss the matter with Pataki, or one of his transition aides. "A lot of people are concerned that he is too close to the Cuomo Administration," Long said. "Quite frankly, I don't know him, but I intend to find out."
In addition to Stack, task force members are: Wayne Berman, a former U.S. Commerce Department official; Stephen Kagann, a former chief economist for the city comptroller's office, and Edmond J. McMahon, director for the Republican minority on the Assembly Ways and Means committee.
Members also include: Thomas L. Rhodes, a founder of Change New York; Anthony Rudman, a former analyst for the Republican majority in the state senate; David Shaffer, a chief fiscal analyst for the Public Policy Institute; Cathy L. Weintraub, a former economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and Bradford Race, a bond lawyer and partner at Seward & Kissel.
Stack would not comment on the matter. But a source with knowledge of the appointment said Stack was recommended as a committee member by Race, who was a major campaign contributor to the Pataki campaign.
Race could not be reached for comment. Since 1985, his firm, Seward & Kissel, has worked as underwriter's counsel on two New York State deals that Goldman served as the issue's lead underwriter, according to Securities Data Co.