Gandhi to be reappointed Washington CFO

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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WASHINGTON: In a move targeted at reassuring investors that the U.S. capital's finances will remain strong, Democratic mayoral nominee Adrian Fenty announced on Monday his intentions of reappointing the city's chief financial officer, Natwar Gandhi, to a second term.

For a city overwhelmingly populated by Democrats, Fenty’s victory in the mayoral elections is virtually assured. The 35-year-old had won a landslide victory in the September 12 Democratic primary.

During the primary campaign, Fenty was criticized for being inexperienced and doubts were raised about his capability to manage a combined federal and local budget of around $7 billion.

"I can think of no clearer statement -- to Wall Street, to Congress, and to the people of the District of Columbia -- that our city will continue with its financial stability than to extend the tenure of Gandhi as our city's independent chief financial officer," Fenty told a gathering of newsmen in the city government building.

Gandhi first term, he was appointed by outgoing Mayor Anthony Williams in the year 2001, will expire next year. Keep[ing this in mind, Fenty said that one of the first actions that he would take as a mayor in January would be to reappoint Gandhi for another five-year term.

Created by Congress in the mid-1990s, the chief financial officer has effective veto power in matters pertaining to city budgets, spending plans and bond issuance, which are not supported by revenues.

A position created by Congress in the mid-1990s when it took control of disastrous city finances, has effective veto power over city budgets, spending plans and bond issuance, which are not supported by revenues. As the chief financial officer, Gandhi also manages the city's tax and revenue operations, fiscal analysis and lottery operations, overseeing a staff of 1,500.

While Gandhi’s swift opposition to imprudent spending proposals has earned him the nickname "Dr. No", he has been instrumental in the city's buildup of a $1.5 billion budget surplus fund and numerous bond-rating upgrades.

"I am extremely gratified by the confidence shown in me by Fenty," Gandhi said in response to Fenty’s statement. "I would be honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve the citizens of the District of Columbia as their chief financial officer."

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