Congratulations to John Olderman, MPA ’16, recently selected as a 2015-16 Citizens Budget Commission Public Policy Fellow. The paid fellowship will give the International Finance and Economic Policy concentrator an opportunity to conduct in-depth research and produce a final report on a certain type of post-employment benefits.
“I’m really excited about this,” Olderman told SIPA News. “It’s an opportunity for me to learn about a really important issue that I’m currently not an expert in, and give back to the New York City community in a positive way.”
Olderman was nominated for the fellowship by Professor Ester Fuchs, director of the concentration in Urban and Social Policy. He will intern this summer at the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Performance Budgeting, where he will work on capital budgeting, performance indicators, and other fiscal management functions.
When he returns to New York in the fall, he will study “other post-employment benefits,” known as OPEBs, which are the benefits other than pensions that state government provide to retirees.
Olderman says the cost of health care and other OPEBs will be “a huge issue in New York City and the whole nation” as the Baby Boomer generation begins to retire and live longer. He said OPEBs traditionally sit in trusts and are not invested or protected like pensions, costing taxpayers billions of dollars in the long run, something he looks forward to studying at greater length.
The CBC fellowships, now in their second year, recognize outstanding graduate students at public policy programs in New York City. Recipients work 20 hours each week during their final year of study.
In addition to conducting research, Olderman will have the opportunity to attend CBC meetings and learn more about both the nonprofit organization’s role as a fiscal watchdog and New York’s city and state governments in general.
“This fellowship provides an incredible segue into a potential career in city or state policy,” Olderman said. “I look forward to studying fiscal matters under the tutelage of some of the finest professionals in the field.”
Before attending SIPA, Olderman worked in state politics in Maryland. He worked in the Maryland General Assembly and served most recently as chief of staff to Richard S. Madaleno, Jr., a state senator who served as vice chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee.
At SIPA, Olderman has taken courses from both academics and practitioners, including former city comptroller John Liu. He also co-founded the SIPA Policy Working Group, which focuses on domestic public policy.
“We talk a lot about politics here but we don’t necessarily walk the walk,” Olderman said, adding that he hopes the group will be able to educate students about how domestic policy is crafted and also help average New Yorkers who may not have the skills or resources advocate for change.