WASHINGTON Feb 1 The chief financial officer of
Washington, D.C., Natwar Gandhi, 72, said Friday he will retire
on June 1.
"I feel comfortable retiring at this time because the city
is in excellent financial condition, perhaps the best in its
history," said Gandhi in a letter to Mayor Vincent Gray. "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."
Earlier this week, Gandhi's office announced that the
District ended its 2012 fiscal year in October with a surplus of
Known for taking a conservative approach to revenues and
advocating for strong reserves, Gandhi also announced that
Washington's "rainy day fund" now stands at $1.5 billion, the
highest in seven years.
Gandhi's 15-year tenure is often considered instrumental in
the District's financial improvements since the late 1990s, when
the federal government had to step in to manage its budget
through a control board.
His tenure was not without controversy, however, and he drew
criticism for inadequate controls in an embezzlement case
involving a tax office employee in 2007.
Mayor Gray, who recently re-appointed Gandhi to a five-year
term, praised the CFO as "an exemplary steward of the District's
finances for over a decade."
"Without his leadership, the District would not have
experienced the extraordinary fiscal turnaround that we have
seen in the last dozen years," Gray said in a statement.
Gandhi spokesman David Umansky said the CFO is retiring for
"purely personal reasons."
The mayor's office said it "was too soon to say anything
definite" about a replacement.
The head of the city council committee that will confirm the
next CFO, Jack Evans, called Gandhi's resignation a loss, but
said it "presents an opportunity to bring in a new perspective."
Evans said Gandhi had helped save millions of dollars in
financing through his work to improve the District's ratings and
to move it into issuing income tax bonds and variable rate debt.
"The credit rating agencies now have a very positive view of
the District's financial position and our bond issuances are
routinely oversubscribed and pay among the lowest interest rates
among major cities," he said in a statement. "Dr. Gandhi's work
has led to tangible savings."