Compiled by Audrey J. Bernard
New York City recently lost an important asset in the Office of the Comptroller. After decades in an Outreach and Special Events role, Yvette Hibbert-Taylor retired the last full work week of 2017. In service to six Comptrollers over 36 years, her career has been storied and her efforts have been especially helpful to many African Americans.
Recalling her most memorable experiences, Taylor cited historic interactions with celebrated personalities, including: Hon. Harrison J. Goldin, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, former South African President Nelson Mandela and many others.
According to the longtime civil servant, when Mr. Goldin became the founding Chair (now Chair Emeritus) of the Council of Institutional Investors, “it was very important to African Americans because the Council had the final word on how city pension funds were invested. The CII put muscle behind community boycotts of companies who in part or wholly participated in Apartheid activities in their home nations. Later, the Irish followed suit and along with the Sullivan Principles (essential) goals were achieved. “Our office hosted a reception for Gerry Adams and, for me, this was a proud moment,” she said.
Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ passion project included a visit to the Comptroller’s Office. There, her objection to the demolition of Grand Central Station was voiced. “We have her (Mrs. Onassis) to thank for saving that work of art for future generations,” stated Taylor.
In the administration of Hon. Bill Thompson, New York City’s first African American Comptroller, Taylor met the legendary South African leader Nelson Mandela and Bishop TuTu. Her office hosted a reception for the delegation shortly after President Mandela’s election.
According to Taylor, Hon. John C. Liu, New York City’s first Asian Comptroller, saved the city million dollars by closely monitoring city contracts. Additionally, he brought diverse communities that were not celebrated city wide in the past to the table.
Hon. Scott M. Stringer, brought attention to the inequity minority- and women- owned businesses (MWBES) face in securing city contracts. He called for city agencies to report publicly the number of contracts issued to MWBE’s and gave them a grade in his ground breaking report, “Making the Grade.”
The strides Taylor made over the years required modernized tools. And, she fondly recalls: “when working with Hon. Elizabeth Holtzman, she uplifted women by taking us into the 21st Century as she threw out all the typewriters, updated the communications systems, offered training programs which helped to level the playing field in our office.”
For those who may follow in her footsteps, Taylor advises: “I believe government service is a totally worthwhile pursuit. There is opportunity and room to grow. The experience gained enriches the communities where we live and work.” Service is a family value. Taylor’s includes correction and police officers, educators, fire fighters, lawyers, and nurses.
Born and raised in Harlem, Taylor attended primary schools in Harlem. She is a member of the Class of ’63, Wadleigh Junior High and later attended Charles Evans Hughes High School as well as Stony Brook University. Her service continues as a member of the Federation of African Americans in Civil Service Organizations, Inc. Board of Directors.