2010 CFO OF THE YEAR: David P. Reynolds

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Honoree, Government

The dilemma for David P. Reynolds, the recently departed controller for the Consolidated City of Indianapolis, Marion County, was one familiar to the CFOs of most government-funded agencies and many not-for-profits: trying to handle an ever-growing demand for services using an ever-shrinking supply of taxpayer dollars. However the scale of his task was far greater. Reynolds was steward of the financial resources of a city of almost 900,000—the fourteenth largest in the U.S. and the third largest in the Midwest.

cfo-reynolds-david01-15col IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter

“Units of government do not have the flexibility of many companies to adjust pricing to react to increasing costs,” Reynolds said. “Indianapolis was forced to continue delivering services with reduced revenues and was only capable of doing that by lowering the cost of delivery of the service.”

Reynolds recently left the city to become senior fiscal analyst for the Indiana Senate’s Republican majority caucus.

reynolds-factboxHe’ll certainly be missed by the administration of Mayor Greg Ballard after proving so adept at economizing and penny pinching to stretch the city’s approximately $1.2 billion budget. Among a long, long list of money-saving adjustments and innovations, he outsourced benefits administration, saving $100,000 per year; developed an online auction service for surplus property that’s grossed more than $300,000 in revenue; aggressively assisted city and county departments in their purchasing processes, saving them more than $4 million; and pooled cellular telephone programs for the entire government, saving more than $135,000 a year.

Another tool in his toolbox was consolidating and streamlining operations—a fertile field in a government comprised of nearly 35 city and county agencies and employing roughly 6,500. Reynolds folded the human resources branches of the Indianapolis Fire Department and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department into the City/County Human Resources Department. He also consolidated grants management across several departments in a new Grants Division within the Office of Finance and Management, and developed a plan to consolidate city and county accounts payable and payroll by transferring city accounts to the County Auditor.

In addition he organized a three-year program to replace the city’s 30-year-old financial accounting system with a fully integrated program replacing over 1,100 “shadow” systems. Standardizing number crunching procedures is expected to yield further cost savings and increase efficiency city-wide.

By myriad means, Reynolds helped Indianapolis avoid hitting a fiscal brick wall. When appointed Controller in January of 2008 at the onset of the Ballard administration, the city faced a forecasted deficit of $200 million by 2012. Through his efforts the budget was instead balanced for three consecutive years.

“Indianapolis is weathering the economic downturn much better than many of our sister cities in Indiana and our neighboring states,” Reynolds said. “Indianapolis, under the leadership of Mayor Ballard, began preparing for this economic downturn very early in 2008. Early action to reduce costs has permitted us to weather the downturn.”

Not that he expects things to get easier for the city any time soon. “The city is expecting a substantial reduction in its income tax collection in 2011,” he said. “A reduction of $50 million, or 15 percent, of income tax revenues. I also see no growth or very modest growth for the rest of the city’s revenues.”

To help the city cope with that challenge, his successor, Jeff Spalding, a former financial administrator at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, will have to keep an eye peeled for inefficiencies and unnecessary expenses.•


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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.