|HUD No. 10-65
October 1, 2010
STEVE BANKO, SENIOR HUD BUFFALO OFFICIAL, RETIRES
NEW YORK - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey, Adolfo
Carrión, today announced the retirement of Steve Banko as the agency's Buffalo Field Office Director. Mr. Banko headed the 100-person office since 1998 and was responsible for overseeing HUD programs and activities in western and northern New York. Prior to his tenure at HUD, Mr. Banko worked in the State Senate and was Communications Director for Mayor Anthony Masiello from 1994 to 1998. Mr. Carrón appointed Ms. Joan Spillman, head of the office's Public Housing Division, as interim director.
"Steve Banko's legacy of service started in the jungles of Vietnam and continued through the halls of government in Albany and Buffalo," Mr. Carrión said. "He has served the nation and his community with honor and distinction and while the mission and the dedication of the HUD Buffalo Office will continue, Steve will be missed. His diligence in carrying out the work of HUD and his dedication to his city will be long remembered."
In speaking to the Buffalo staff, Mr. Carrión was impressed with the respect and admiration the office held for Mr. Banko, both as a manager and as a person. Mr Carrión added, "He leaves behind a legacy that will be a model for
the next office administrator."
Beyond his duties in the Buffalo office, Mr. Banko is a Senior Fellow at the Council for Excellence (CEG) in
Government in Washington, D.C. He completed that organization's leadership program in 2003, served as a student instructor in 2004, and was the CEG's first "Senior Fellow of the Year" in 2004.
Mr. Banko has written extensively about the Vietnam War, the American soldier and veterans. On Memorial Day this year, Vice President Joe Biden mentioned Mr. Banko in his speech to the nation from Arlington National Cemetery
and quoted from a speech Mr. Banko delivered to dedicate the Purple Heart Monument on the Heroes' Walk at the Buffalo Naval Park. Another of Mr. Banko's speeches, concerning the difficulties veterans' face returning to civilian
life, earned the "Grand Award" as best speech of the year in the Cicero Speechwriting contest in Scottsdale,
Arizona in February, 2010.
During 16 months in combat in Vietnam, Mr. Banko was wounded six times and holds the nation's third highest
award for heroism among his seven citations for heroism.
In addition to Mr. Banko, three other senior staff members are retiring as well: Ms. Nancy Peacock, the Director of
the Office of Community Planning and Development; Operations Specialist Ms. Michele Bernier, and Customer Service Specialist Ms. Susan Wright. Ms. Peacock leaves the agency after 40 years, Ms. Bernier with 38 years, and Ms. Wright with 32 years.
"These three employees have an accumulated knowledge and experience of almost 120 years," Mr. Carrión said.
"While that kind of experience is impossible to replace, it is a credit to the leadership of those now leaving that
they have left behind such a quality office to continue the mission of HUD."
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.