Gray won't decide Gandhi's future until after budget

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray will not begin considering the potential reappointment of Natwar Gandhi, the city’s chief financial officer, until after he presents his budget on March 23, a senior city official said Friday.

“We want to get past this budget before we actively began that process so we can decouple the two,” the official told The Washington Examiner, speaking about internal discussion on the condition of anonymity. “Having those discussions at the same time you’re doing a budget is a really, really bad idea. [It’s] better to wait.”

But all bets are off after the budget. “Game on,” the official said.

A spokesman for Gandhi, whom Mayor Anthony Williams first appointed, declined comment.

Gray and Gandhi locked horns last month after Gray sent a letter asking the CFO to explain his updated revenue forecasts. The letter, which leaked to reporters, criticized Gandhi’s estimates as “unrealistically low” and said city leaders would need to justify the math behind any spending cuts.

“We’re $115 million in the hole. We’re going to make cuts,” the senior official said. “You owe it to the people to say how you got to this number… [and] people have lost faith in his math.”

Gandhi’s office characterized Gray’s missive as unprecedented.

On Friday, Gandhi laid out his responses in a 10-page letter.

“Revenue forecasting is a discipline that must focus on available data and information on the economy and revenue trends, without regard to, or consideration of governmental spending needs and priorities,” Gandhi wrote. “To inject these factors into the process would undermine the reliability of the estimate, the integrity of the overall budget process and could damage our credibility in the financial markets.”

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