A selection committee last week whittled to 15 firms the candidates for the post of senior manager of an underwriting syndicate for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.

After reviewing requests for proposals from 18 firms, the committee, made up of public officials and the corporation's financial advisers, will interview the remaining firms for a yet-to-be-determined number of senior manager slots, said one of the selection committee members.

The underwriting team is being selected for the corporation's capital-raising program. In May, the authority named as financial advisers Chemical Securities Inc. and Carmona Ferrand Montes Securities.

The firms will asist the corporation in determining whether to raise funds for its 10-year $2.9 billion capital program by becoming a new bond issuing authority, continuing to use city general obligation bond sales, or relying on state agencies, such as the dormitory authority or the Medical Care Facilities Finance Agency.

The selection committee tapped the following securities firms for interviews: Artemis Capital Corp.; Bears, Stearns & Co.: Dillon, Read & Co.; First Boston Corp.; Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Grigsby Brandford Powell Inc.; Kidder, Peabody & Co. in a joint venture with WR Lazard, Laidlaw & Mead Inc.; Lazard Freres & Co. in a joint venture with Hernandez & Co.; Lehman Brothers; Merrill Lynch & Co.; J.P. Morgan & Co.; PaineWebber Inc.; Prudential Securities Inc.; and Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co.

The three firms not invited to interview for the senior manager's post still have a shot at competing with 13 other firms for a slot in the co-manager's bracket. The firms cut from the short list are M.R. Beal & Co.; Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp.; and Herbert J. Sims.

For co-manager, the corporation is reviewing responses to a request for proposals from Doley Securities; First Albany Securities; First American Municipals; Fleet Norstar Securities; Gardner Rich & Co.; Pryor, McClendon, Counts & Co.; Samuel A. Ramirez & Co.; Reinoso & Co.; Roosevelt & Cross Inc.; Muriel Sibert & Co.; Advest Inc.; Innova Securities Inc. with Langdon P. Cook & Co.; and William E. Simon & Sons Securities Inc.

Officials from the Health & Hospitals Corp., the city's Office of Management and Budget, the city comptroller's office, and the Office of Economic Development sit on the selection committee, which met last week to draw up the short list of firms for interviews.

"We are only at the interview stage," said Patrice Mitchell, vice president of capital finance for the corporation. Interviews will be conducted today, Thursday, and Friday, she said.

"We will not formally interview co-managers," she continued. "There was never any intention of having interviews for co-manager."

The corporation's board of directors will vote in November or December on the firms recommended by the selection committee for senior manager positions, she said. As for the size of the entire syndicate, Ms. Mitchell said, "At this point we have no idea or thoughts on how bug it will be.

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