WASHINGTON, DC - The District of Columbia City Council held a roundtable hearing today on Mayor Anthony A. Williams' nomination of Dr. Natwar M. Gandhi to be Chief Financial Officer for the District of Columbia. Gandhi, whom Mayor Williams nominated as CFO in early May, served as Deputy Chief Financial Officer for Tax and Revenue since February 1997 and was instrumental in revitalizing the District's tax administration.
Under Gandhi's leadership, the Office of Tax and Revenue became a role model for efficiency and customer service for the District. Successes achieved by the Office of Tax and Revenue since Gandhi's arrival include: collecting substantially more in tax revenue than in previous years, helping to turn projected deficits into huge surpluses in FY 1997 ($185 million); FY 1998 ($445 million) and FY 1999 ($100+ million); improving the Districts accounting practices for business tax receivables, thus helping to attain a "clean opinion" from external auditors; issuing more than 150,000 tax refunds within 15 days during the 1999 and 2000 tax-filing season; and introducing paperless tax-filing methods, such as electronic and telefiling.
In his role as acting CFO, Gandhi quickly established three primary goals for the agency that oversees the financial stability of the District: obtain a clean opinion on schedule from the District's independent auditor for FY2000 and all subsequent years; assure a balanced budget; and provide effective, efficient financial systems and business methods to support the financial information needs and decision processes of District policy makers on a timely basis.
"I am proud to be part of a team that is working diligently to ensure the District of Columbia's financial viability, assure that there is a healthy climate for economic development, and provide the groundwork for a successful return to home rule," said Gandhi.
Gandhi, a native of India, immigrated to the United States in 1965. He has more than 30 years of experience managing and supervising large agencies and projects in business, academic, and government settings. Prior to his position at the Office of Tax and Revenue, he served as associate director of tax policy administration for the US General Accounting Office, where he had a 20-year career. He holds a doctorate in accounting from Louisiana State University, masters in business administration from Atlanta University, and an L.L.B. and B.Com. in accounting from the University of Bombay.
"Only in the United States can a first generation immigrant be nominated to become Chief Financial Officer of the nation's capital. It shows the generosity of American people, and for this, I am most grateful. The City has embraced me just as the country has, and I am proud to live and be a public servant in the United States."
The Control Board will vote on Dr. Gandhi's nomination following the City Council's seven-day review period of his nomination to be Chief Financial Officer.