D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray formally transmitted his reappointment of the city’s chief financial officer, Natwar M. Gandhi, to the D.C. Council on Friday, a move that had been widely anticipated, but is already facing criticism from some city lawmakers.
Mr. Gray said Mr. Gandhi has been “a steady steward for the District´s finances for more than a decade” and is deserving of an additional five years at the city’s financial helm. He credited Mr. Gandhi, who has been CFO since 2000, with being a catalyst for balanced budgets, restoring the District’s fund balance to $1.1 billion and improving the District’s scorecard from top financial rating agencies.
Mr. Gandhi, who has referred to himself as “realistically conservative,” has been criticized for issuing revenue estimates that understated the projected amount of cash flowing into city coffers.
The issue took a serious turn in the past year, when city workers demanded repayment for a quartet of furlough days they took in 2011, only to see the District gain a $240 million windfall by the end of the year. In March, Mr. Gray sent an unusual letter to Mr. Gandhi’s office — which is supposed to be independent of the mayor´s administration — that suggested his latest revenue estimates were “unrealistically low.”
Council member David A. Catania, at-large independent, has been a consistent critic of Mr. Gandhi’s fiscal calculations and ability to manage his office’s responsibilities.
Yet while many parts of the nation were battered by the financial recession, the District has enjoyed a rosy fiscal outlook and economic growth — factors that made Mr. Gandhi’s reappointment a likely result.