Chief Financial Officer Praised for Turning Around District's Finances
Mayor Vincent C. Gray has accepted the resignation of the city's Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, thanking him for a dramatic turnaround in the District's finances over the past 15 years.
Gandhi, who assumed his post under former Mayor Anthony Williams, was re-appointed last year by Gray for a third 5-year term. He told the mayor in a letter on Friday of his decision to step down, effective June 1.
"I want to express my profound gratitude to Dr. Gandhi for being an exemplary steward of the District's finances for over a decade, and I am sorry to see him go," Gray said. "In the time that he has served as our Chief Financial Officer, he has helped take us from the days of the Control Board to our just-announced $417 million Fiscal Year 2012 surplus."
While Gandhi did not go into detail regarding his decision, a spokesman said it was "for purely personal reasons."
Meanwhile, "Though I look forward to the next chapter in my life, this was not an easy decision," Gandhi wrote. "The past 15 years have been the most challenging and rewarding of my professional career. . . I am comfortable retiring at this time because the city is in excellent financial condition, perhaps the best in its history. The Fund Balance is as high as it ever has been, revenues are rising and, at this time it appears they will continue to do so."
According to a statement from Gray's office, under Gandhi's guidance, the District has obtained a "clean" audit opinion from independent auditors in the District's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) every year since Fiscal Year 2000, which ended the city's Control Period and facilitated the return of Home Rule.
In addition, because of Gandhi's leadership, the District has secured several rating upgrades for its general-obligation bonds from the major rating agencies, including an "A+" from Standard and Poor's, a "AA-" from Fitch Ratings and an "Aa2" rating from Moody's Investors Service. The District's Income Tax Secured bond ratings are "AAA" from S&P, "AA" from Fitch and "Aa1" from Moody's.
"I especially want to thank Dr. Gandhi for being a strong partner in helping me restore our crucial Fund Balance to $1.5 billion," Gray added. "Without his leadership, the District would not have experienced the extraordinary fiscal turnaround that we have seen in the last dozen years. Our city owes him a great debt of gratitude."