New York City officials on Friday took the first steps in selecting a new team of Wall Street investment banks to underwrite city debt.

In an advertisement placed in The Bond Buyer, the city announced that firms interested in obtaining a request for proposal document should contact City Hall. City officials said on Friday that the RFP could be mailed as early as today or tomorrow to bankers requesting the document.

The request marks the second time the administrations of Mayor David N. Dinkins and Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman have chosen a team of investment banks to underwrite city debt.

In the spring of 1990, finance officials representing the mayor and the comptroller choose five senior managers to serve as lead underwriters for two deals each. In addition, a number of other firms, including those owned by women and minorities, were tapped to serve in a co-managerbracket and a special underwriting bracket.

Shortly after that selection, city officials also chose firms to sell bonds on behalf of the New York City Municipal Water Authority.

The latest city RFP will contain two parts: one that will ask questions regarding the city's capital needs, and another concerning the water authority.

In the document, the city will also take a new approach in the selection process. For example, in the previous document, the city asked questions to help the administrations become familiar with the Wall Street investment community.

The thrust of the new RFP, however, will concern the city's improved financial condition and ways it can obtain an upgrade in its credit rating and expand its variable-rate capacity, city sources said. The city is rated Baal by Moody's investors Service and Aminus by Standard & Poor's Corp.

In a set of new questions, the city will likely ask Wall Street firms for more detailed information on their affirmative action policies.

One city source said the RFP will call on firms to state how many women and minorities work in their public finance departments as well as the firm's overall commitment to affirmative action. In the past, the city only asked for information on the firm's overall commitment, the source said.

The RFP will also include a question on "how the firms can make the world a better place," a city source said. Details on the exact nature of this question could not be obtained.

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