Ireland to replace Reich as Dallas CFO

BY SourceMedia | MUNICIPAL | 06/15/22 01:01 PM EDT By Karen Pierog

M. Elizabeth Reich has resigned as Dallas? chief financial officer after almost six years and will be replaced by Jack Ireland, the city?s budget director.

In a memo to the mayor and city council this week, City Manager T.C. Broadnax said Reich had accepted a position outside of city government and her last day with Dallas will be June 30.

?In her first year, she was instrumental in brokering a compromise that saved the Dallas Police and Fire Pension, and since then has helped the city emerge on strong financial footing from a devastating tornado followed closely by the COVID-19 crisis,? the memo said. ?Importantly, she invested in the employees and the organization because she believes that success is not measured simply by managing current issues, but by achieving long-term effectiveness and financial sustainability.?
Ireland, her successor, has been Dallas? director of budget and management services for 12 years, overseeing the city?s operating and capital budgets including 2012 and 2017 bond programs, according to the memo.

Janette Weedon, who previously served as assistant budget director and is currently 311 customer service director, will become budget director.

Reich could not immediately be reached for comment.

In her resignation letter, Reich said she is ?proud that the city of Dallas is stronger financially than at any time since I arrived, and that we have put governance and systems in place to sustain this success.? It also said she decided to seek ?a new challenge that would allow me to continue serving the people of Dallas while continuing to grow professionally.?

Reich pointed out that when she joined the city government in 2016, the reserve balance was $134 million, or 42 days of operating expenses, but is now $287 million, or 71.5 days.

Potential insolvency of the retirement system for public safety workers and lawsuits over police back pay contributed to financial woes that threatened to bankrupt the city and led to general obligation bond rating downgrades in 2015 and 2016.

The crisis was averted with action by the Texas Legislature and bond-financed city settlements with police.

?Furthermore, in 2017, we developed the first balanced biennial budget to ensure that budget decisions in one year are sustainable in the next, and we instituted five-year forecasting to further improve our financial planning,? Reich said in the letter. ?Critically, these actions and the pension compromise stopped the regular downgrades of the city?s general obligation credit rating.?

Dallas is currently rated AA-minus by S&P Global Ratings, AA by Fitch Ratings, A1 by Moody?s Investors Service, and AA-plus by Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

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