The District’s chief financial officer, Natwar M. Gandhi, has been called many things in the 12 years he has presided over the city’s finances — “Dr. No” and “Chief Fictional Officer,” among them.
In all, the monikers underscore the array of passions stirred by the widowed grandfather of five as he guided the District from the fiscal abyss of the 1990s to today’s more stable footing.
Gandhi has his own nickname, proudly referring to himself as “The Supreme Bean Counter.”
The boast is an oxymoron, fusing the humility of an immigrant who arrived in the United States as a young man with all of $7 and the cockiness of a city official often credited with reforming a finance agency that once piled thousands of unprocessed tax returns in a basement office.
But under Gandhi’s watch, the city agency also has been ground zero for controversy, including criticism for poor internal controls and a $48 million embezzlement case by tax office employee Harriette Walters. Most recently, The Washington Post published articles about agency database systems that may be at risk of manipulation.