(Washington, DC) The Council of the District of Columbia today unanimously approved Mayor Anthony A. Williams' nomination of Dr. Natwar M. Gandhi to a new term as Chief Financial Officer for the District of Columbia, a position responsible for overseeing the city's $5 billion budget.
"Natwar Gandhi has a strong track record of prudent and objective financial management," said Mayor Williams. "He also is well respected by all key stakeholders - the Council, congressional leadership, business groups, and regional political figures. He has defined the standard for the position of Chief Financial Officer for the District of Columbia. I can think of no person more qualified than he to serve in this critical post as we enter the new era of self-government."
Gandhi, who has been serving as the CFO since May 2000, steered the city through several historic milestones - delivering the city's FY 2000 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report ahead of schedule, earning a clean opinion from independent auditors, and balancing the budget for the fourth consecutive year with a $241 million surplus. This enabled the District to return to Home Rule on Oct. 1, under which the city's elected officials have full authority to govern. Additionally, during his tenure as CFO, the District attained bond rating upgrades from three major rating agencies, had a smooth FY 2002 budget development process, and completed the District's first Tax Increment Financing deal - the Spy Museum.
"The city's elected leaders are now solely responsible for the administration of the District of Columbia, and they will look to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer to be the guardian of the city's financial viability," said Gandhi. "I am committed to working with our elected leaders to develop sound budgets, give top notch economic analysis, and alert them early and often if we discover spending pressures so that we can work together to overcome any financial challenges."
Gandhi joined the District government in 1997 as Deputy Chief Financial Officer for the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR). Under his leadership, OTR demonstrated a remarkable turnaround. Successes included collecting substantially more in tax revenue than in previous years, turning projected deficits for the city into huge surpluses in FY 1997 ($185 million), FY 1998 ($445 million), and FY 1999 ($86 million); improving the District's accounting practices for business tax receivables; issuing more than 150,000 tax refunds within 15 days; establishing a one-stop, walk-in Customer Service Center to improve public outreach; and introducing an Integrated Tax System.
Gandhi's nomination will take effect once Congress finalizes legislation that establishes the terms of the office of the CFO in the post control board era. The current version of the legislation would give Gandhi a term that ends June 30, 2007.