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Wanted: Financial Number Cruncher With a 'Fresh Perspective'

By Ted Cox | April 30, 2014 5:48pm
 Ald. Ameya Pawar is out to expand the pool of candidates to head the new independent budget office.
Ald. Ameya Pawar is out to expand the pool of candidates to head the new independent budget office.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — Wanted by the City Council: a financial bean counter who knows the ins and outs of government funding, but has a "fresh perspective."

The City Council Wednesday moved forward with the creation of the Office of Financial Analysis, an independent agency reporting to aldermen and modeled in part after the Congressional Budget Office on the federal level. It's designed to give aldermen some oversight on financial matters typically handled by the Mayor's Office, such as the city's annual budget and the infamous parking-meter deal.

On Thursday, it will formally open the process to apply for the leadership position in that office.

"We want to encourage as many people as possible to apply," said Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), who was lead sponsor of the ordinance that established the office last year. "We want to see what's out there."

On Wednesday, the council formally named Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) chairman of the oversight committee that will handle the hiring of the head post. Austin, who is also chairman of the Budget Committee, has previously mentioned former Uptown alderman Helen Shiller as a possible candidate.

Pawar insisted Wednesday he was not out to derail that idea, but only to expand the pool of candidates, saying, "I don't have a horse in this race other than to say there are some really smart people in this city."

Pawar added that they're not looking for someone who's out to do to a lot of grandstanding. "This isn't an [inspector general] position," he said, adding that it was better suited to "someone not out to make a name for themselves."

Pawar said he hopes the oversight committee, which includes him, will "place a priority on someone who has a different viewpoint not in the city bureaucracy." He said he was looking for "a fresh perspective."

The application process for the position of council financial analyst will be open May 1-16. The committee is looking for someone with a master's degree in business, finance or economics and with "experience in municipal finance, or substantially equivalent experience." Applicants, however, cannot have worked for the city over the last three years and cannot be felons.

The position has a six-figure salary and oversees a staff of four. Interested applicants should send a cover letter and resume via email to COFA@cityofchicago.org or to the Chairman of the Council Office of Financial Analysis Oversight Committee, Room 200, City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL, 60602.

Listen to Patty Wetli discuss Ald. Pawar's re-election bid and possible future Mayoral Run on DNAinfo Radio: