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Government and People
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, MAY 5, 2000
|CONTACT: Lucy B. Murray
Today, I would like to announce that after enjoying 16 years of District government service, I am moving forward with a new career challenge. I have accepted an offer to serve as a strategic planner for a large Federal agency. The FYI 999 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report shows good results for the District including a surplus of $86.0 million, a "clean opinion", a fund balance of $198 million; and for the first time ever, a $35 million contribution to begin reducing long term debt. With these results, the District will surely seek additional credit rating upgrades and is poised to evolve from a control period to normal government operations. Equally important, the role of the Chief Financial Officer also will change over the next year in concert with the return to normal government.
I am pleased to have served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) during such an important period in the District's history. I thank Mayor Williams and the Financial Authority for entrusting me with this important responsibility.
I have served the District government in some capacity during the tenure of every Mayor since the District first obtained Home Rule. I have worked for the legislative and executive branches of the District and more recently for the Financial Authority. I have watched the District government evolve from the shadow of the Federal government to its current efforts to be among the very best in American Cities.
Since becoming the CFO on June 7, 1999, I have worked diligently through many long hours to successfully resolve numerous challenges that awaited me in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) -- a lot was accomplished in a relatively short period of time including:
The FYI 999 audit was a very difficult challenge. The SOAR system was placed into operation on October 1, 1998 with only a one-year implementation time line. The normal implementation time is two to three years. Every event in the closing process revealed an increasingly large number of system control issues and data processing difficulties. In addition, the decisions to decentralize controls over entry of cash transactions created difficulties in the reconciliation process. Every second that was saved during the short implementation time line extended the time and work requirements necessary to resolve these issues and complete the CAFR and audit.
In closing, I wish the District well. I must note that the many successes achieved over the last year were possible only because of the dedicated support and technical talents of the staff of the OCFO and the support of the Financial Authority. My last day of service will be May 19, 2000.
Valerie Holt came to her position as Chief Financial Officer during a very fragile period of time during the city's financial recovery. I first worked with Valerie when I was CFO, and she has continued to serve our city as a member of my administration. She managed a $900 million-bond transaction, lead the Office of the Chief Financial Officer through the Y2K conversion process, and negotiated two Tax Increment Financing proposals that will aid the revitalization of our downtown. I continue to have great respect for her abilities. While she has decided to discontinue her service to the District and to my administration, Valerie is a dedicated public servant and I wish her well in her future endeavors.
I have asked Deputy Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi, of the Office of Tax and Revenue, to serve as Acting Chief Financial Officer and I intend to submit his name to the D.C. Council and the Control Board for approval as the District's CFO. Moving forward, our priority must be to continue our financial recovery, balance our books for the fourth year in a row and return to normal government.
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