A wave of retirements is reorganizing Virginia’s public finance agencies, taking decades of institutional knowledge from one of the most stable and least visible operational arms of state government.
Last week, Treasurer Manju Ganeriwala retired after more than 13 years serving as five governors – overseeing the investment of public funds and debt management – and more than 30 years in state government. .
John Layman, chief economist and director of revenue forecasting at the Department of Taxation, will retire on August 1 after 33 years in state government. The department has already lost Bill White, its assistant commissioner for fiscal policy, to retirement this year, and heads of the planning and budget department and the accounts department also retired earlier this year after long stretches. careers in state government.
These four agencies—Treasury, Taxation, Planning and Budget, and Accounting—have been the cornerstones of the Virginia government’s finances, guiding elected and appointed officials through the ups and downs of the economy, government revenue, tax policy and budgetary choices.
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“Continuity within state government itself has been key over the years,” said Emily Walker, vice president of advocacy at the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants, which advocates for tax policy at the State. General Assembly.
Governor Glenn Youngkin has moved quickly to replace the heads of financial agencies, which are at the heart of his political agenda to cut taxes and control public spending. He replaced Ganeriwala as state treasurer this month with David L. Richardson, who had retired after nearly 44 years at the McGuireWoods law firm in Richmond, specializing in tax-exempt bond financing. for public entities and non-profit organizations.
“Manju was a dedicated public servant and the governor thanks her for her service,” spokesman Macaulay Porter said last week. “The Virginia State Treasurer plays a vital role in providing statewide financial services.”
When Comptroller David Von Moll retired in April after 21 years as head of the accounts department, Youngkin appointed Assistant Comptroller Randy McCabe to the top job. Michael Maul, a longtime budget analyst, replaced Dan Timberlake as Director of the Planning and Budget Department. Kirstin Collins, who had served as director of policy development in the tax department and its public face in relations with General Assembly money committees, replaces White as assistant commissioner for tax policy.
Youngkin reappointed Craig Burns as tax commissioner, a position he has held for 12 years. Only Layman, whose economic analyzes were key to tracking state budget revenues, has yet to be replaced. Burns will name replacements for Layman and White.
“We tend to lose some institutional knowledge from time to time, but we are very quick learners,” said Barry Knight, president of House Appropriations, R-Virginia Beach.
Finance Secretary Steve Cummings remodeled his own office with the recent retirement of Undersecretary June Jennings, an accountant who had served in state government for more than 30 years.
Youngkin recently appointed John Markowitz as assistant finance secretary. Markowitz previously worked for Transurban North America, a private transportation company that partners with Virginia and other states in public-private transportation partnerships.
The governor also appointed Dan Kowalski, a former US Treasury Department official under then-President Donald Trump, as a special adviser to Cummings.
The wave of retirements comes in the first six months of a new administration under Youngkin, the first Republican to serve as Virginia governor since Bob McDonnell left office in early 2014, but Knight said “I think a lot of it is generational.”
Former Finance Secretary Aubrey Layne, a retired CPA who oversaw all financial agencies under the then government. Ralph Northam, said he probably would have had to deal with retirements if he was still secretary.
“I think it will just be time to reset,” Layne said.
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