History of OCFO
In 1995, President Clinton signed the law creating a presidentially appointed District of Columbia Financial Control Board. The Control Board (officially the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority) was a five-member body established by the United States Congress to oversee the finances of the District. Created through the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Act of 1995, approved April 17, 1995 (Public Law 104-8, 109 Stat. 142), the Control Board had the power to override decisions by Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia.
The same legislation that created the Control Board also created the position of Chief Financial Officer, which had direct control over day-to-day financial operations of each District agency, and independence from the Mayor's office. In this regard, the CFO is nominated by the Mayor and approved by the DC Council, after which the nomination is transmitted to the U.S. Congress for a thirty-day review period.
In 2006, Congress passed into law the 2005 District of Columbia Omnibus Authorization Act (Omnibus Act), approved October 16, 2005 (Public Law 109-356, 120 Stat. 2019). The Omnibus Act transferred additional functions and personnel to the OCFO, such as the District of Columbia Lottery. The Omnibus Act also reasserted the independence and authority of the OCFO after the Control Board had become a dormant administrative agency on September 30, 2001, following four consecutive years of balanced budgets and clean audits.
Natwar M. Gandhi is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the District of Columbia and is responsible for the city’s finances, including its approximately $10 billion in annual operating and capital funds. He was first appointed to this position by Mayor Anthony Williams in 2000, re-appointed by Mayor Williams to a full five-year term in 2002, re-appointed by Mayor Adrian Fenty in 2007, and re-appointed by Mayor Vincent Gray in 2012.
As CFO, Gandhi manages the District’s financial operations, which includes some 875 staff members in tax and revenue administration; the treasury, comptroller and budget offices; economic/fiscal analysis and revenue estimation functions; agency financial operations; and the D.C. Lottery. He works closely with congressional committees that oversee District affairs, as well as U.S. Office of Management and Budget staff. He also interacts regularly with the Wall Street financial community, including rating agencies, regarding the District’s financial matters.
During his tenure, CFO Gandhi has strengthened the District’s finances by securing multiple rating upgrades (a total of 14 rating steps since FY2000) from the major rating agencies for its general obligation bonds, which are currently rated AA- by Standard and Poor’s, AA- by Fitch Ratings and Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service. These are the highest ratings ever assigned to the District of Columbia’s general obligation bonds. In 2009, Standard & Poor’s assigned a rating of AAA to the District’s inaugural offering of income tax revenue bonds, which are rated AA+ by Fitch and Aa1 by Moody’s.