Natwar M. Gandhi is the chief financial officer (CFO) for the District of Columbia and is responsible for the city’s finances, including its approximately $7 billion in annual operating and capital funds. He was appointed to this position on June 7, 2000, and was reappointed in January 2007. As the independent CFO, Gandhi manages the District’s financial operations, which include more than 1,000 staff members in tax and revenue administration; the treasury, comptroller and budget offices; economic/fiscal analysis and revenue estimation functions; agency financial operations; and the DC Lottery. He works closely with congressional committees and the US Office of Management and Budget staff that oversee District affairs. He also regularly interacts with the Wall Street financial community, including rating agencies, regarding the District’s financial matters.Gandhi has built on the District’s financial progress by securing multiple rating upgrades (a total of 13 rating steps since FY2000) from the major rating agencies for its general obligation bonds, which are currently rated A+ by Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings and A1 by Moody’s Investors Service. These are the highest ratings ever assigned to the District of Columbia’s general obligation bonds. In 2009, Standard & Poor’s assigned a rating of AAA to the District’s inaugural offering of income tax revenue bonds, which were rated AA by Fitch and Aa2 by Moody’s. Savings on debt service costs from the income tax bonds are estimated to total $28 million between FY2010 and FY2013.As CFO, Gandhi sits on the boards of the Washington Convention and Sports Authority and Destination DC.Prior to this appointment, Gandhi served as deputy chief financial officer for tax and revenue, leading an organization that administers the District of Columbia’s tax laws. When Gandhi joined the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) in 1997, the agency was in disarray. Its revenue base was shrinking, and employee morale was sinking. Under his leadership, OTR demonstrated a remarkable turnaround. Successes included collecting substantially more in tax revenue than in previous years, turning projected city deficits into huge surpluses; issuing more than 150,000 tax refunds within 15 days during the 1999 and 2000 tax-filing seasons; and establishing a new one-stop, walk-in customer service center to improve public outreach.The momentum Gandhi established at OTR has continued under his leadership as the city’s CFO. In 2002, OTR received the Federation of Tax Administrators “Award for Outstanding Technology Applications for State Administrations” for its Electronic Taxpayer Service Center.Prior to his appointment to OTR, Gandhi served as associate director of Tax Policy and Administration for the US General Accounting Office (GAO), where he managed major research projects involving tax policy relating to large financial institutions. In that capacity he worked closely with the US House Ways and Means Committee and the US Senate Finance Committee, among others, and he testified numerous times on tax and financial issues before congressional and state legislative committees. In 1991, Gandhi served as a special assistant to New Jersey Gov. Jim Florio, where he studied the state’s pension system and advised on changes in its funding.From 1973 to 1976, Gandhi was assistant professor of accounting and then coordinator of the Department of Accounting in the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Business. From 1976 until 1998, he was an adjunct professor for the MBA programs of American University, Georgetown University, and the University of Maryland.In 2007, Gandhi was named one of Governing magazine’s 2007 Public of Officials of the Year and Washingtonian magazine’s 150 most powerful public officials. He was also named one of Washingtonian magazine’s 2006 Washingtonians of the Year and was a recipient of the Association of Government Accountants’ (AGA) 2007 Distinguished Local Government Leadership Award. His other honors include The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Meritorious Leadership Award (Inaugural Recipient) and the DC Chamber of Commerce Impact Award in 2005, as well as Achievement of the Year Awards from the AGA (National chapter in 2000 and Washington, DC, chapter in 1999). He also received the President’s Award from the Greater Washington Society of CPAs in 2000, and Distinguished Service and Meritorious Service Awards from the GAO.In 2005, the National Academy of Public Administration elected Gandhi as a fellow for his “sustained exemplary contributions and continuing active commitment to the improvement of public administration.” He is also a member of the Metropolitan Club of Washington, DC.Gandhi holds a doctorate in accounting from Louisiana State University, a master’s degree in business administration from Atlanta University, and an LLB and BCom in accounting from the University of Bombay.
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