Next CFO’s Goals
Jack Evans Report
On Oct. 30, I chaired a meeting of the Committee on Finance and Revenue to vote on the nomination of Jeffrey S. DeWitt as the next Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia. I have been very impressed with Mr. DeWitt and look forward to working with him on a number of items going forward.
I believe a nominee to this position must possess a deep understanding of municipal finance. Our next CFO must also have good relations with Wall Street. A successful nominee must have or demonstrate the potential to develop a good relationship with leadership on Capitol Hill and the District’s elected leaders.
Once confirmed, a top priority for our next CFO must be to focus serious attention on a commitment to public service and customer service. I asked Mr. DeWitt in written questions to tell me who he views the ultimate “customer” of the office of the CFO to be, and he correctly answered that the ultimate customer should be first and foremost the citizens of the District of Columbia. Whether we are talking about real property tax liens, personal income taxes or various fees the CFO deducts via the cross-tax offset, the common denominator we need is a human touch at the helm of the agency, making sure that our most vulnerable residents are not unduly disadvantaged in the necessary process of raising revenue for our city.
Another critical area of focus for the next CFO is contracting and procurement. Whether we are talking about the lottery contract or technology upgrades, there is a pattern of questions around our CFO’s procurement system that must stop under our new nominee.
Mr. DeWitt has worked for the Phoenix, Ariz. Finance Department since 1994, serving in several positions before becoming the CFO for Phoenix, a position he has held since 2009. Mr. DeWitt was identified by a search committee, which was co-chaired by former Mayor Anthony Williams and former U.S. Office of Management and Budget Director Dr. Alice Rivlin. The search committee recommended several candidates to serve as the next CFO, from which Mayor Gray made his final decision. Mr. DeWitt comes very highly recommended, with letters of support from many stakeholders in the Phoenix area. In addition, in his responses to my written questions and at my oversight hearing, he demonstrated a good understanding of the challenges and responsibilities that are uniquely associated with the District’s CFO position.
Mr. DeWitt would be replacing Dr. Natwar M. Gandhi, who was appointed to a five-year term in 2012. Upon confirmation, Mr. DeWitt will be appointed to complete Dr. Gandhi’s term to end June 30, 2017.