Philadelphia, August 31 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter today announced the appointments of Maari Porter as the City’s Recovery Officer related to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, effective immediately, and Rebecca Rhynhart as City Budget Director effective November 1, 2010.
On the appointment of Maari Porter to Recovery Officer, Mayor Nutter stated, “I am pleased that Maari will be continuing with our team. Maari has performed admirably on City Recovery activities and I am excited that she will be taking on the additional level of responsibility to serve as the City’s Recovery Officer. Her past experience in other governments, as well as in managing City Recovery activities, ensures continued success in this area.”
In her role as Recovery Officer, Ms. Porter will be responsible for oversight and reporting to the Mayor and Federal Government on the City’s disposition of all American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding – totaling $248 million to date. One of her main responsibilities as Recovery Officer will be to ensure that the City maximizes available grant funding by fully expending within allowable time periods and that the funds are spent well and wisely.
“I am honored that the Mayor has chosen me to head the Recovery Office’s efforts to help stimulate the local economy,” said Ms. Porter. “I look forward to working more closely with the Mayor and the other members of this Administration to help ensure that Recovery Act dollars are spent quickly and effectively.”
Ms. Porter joined the City in February 2010 as Deputy Budget Director for recovery efforts. While reporting to the Recovery Officer, Ms. Porter assisted in the effort to ensure timely and appropriate spending of all ARRA funds awarded to the City, and had primary responsibility for reporting on expenditures and jobs created or saved due to ARRA funding. She led efforts to provide greater transparency around Recovery Act spending by working collaboratively with the Chief Integrity Officer and Inspector General to develop a Control and Compliance program and, most recently, by publishing the first quarterly update Stimulus at Work in Philadelphia: The Mayor’s Quarterly Update on the Recovery Act to the Citizens of Philadelphia, August 2010.
Prior to her tenure with the City, Ms. Porter served in various positions in Great Britain and New Zealand. Her past positions include working on local government and federal (national) policy and performance management issues in the UK Government as Capability Review Manager in the Cabinet Office and as Performance Management Advisor in both the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit and Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. Her local government experience includes positions as Policy Advisor in the London Borough of Southwark and as an Urban Planner in the Auckland Regional Council, New Zealand.
Ms. Porter holds a Master’s Degree in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Planning from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
As the City Budget Director, Ms. Rhynhart will be responsible for development, management and oversight of the City’s $3.9 billion operating budget, and, in conjunction with the City Planning Commission, the $2.3 billion capital budget and $8 billion capital program. She will have responsibility for development of the City’s Five-Year Financial Plan. Additionally, Ms. Rhynhart will work closely with the Finance Director and Managing Director to integrate performance management into the city budgeting process.
“I am delighted that Rebecca has agreed to assume the position of City Budget Director,” said Mayor Nutter. “As Treasurer, Rebecca skillfully guided the City through a period of unprecedented turmoil in the financial markets. She successfully restructured all of the City’s $1.9 billion in variable rate debt, saving significant interest costs to the City and limiting the City’s risk exposure, all during the toughest of economic times. She also gained an understanding of the financial challenges facing the City, making her a natural fit for this position.”
Rebecca Rhynhart joined the City in February 2008 as the City’s Debt Manager in the Office of the Director of Finance. In July, 2008, she carried those debt management responsibilities with her to her appointment as City Treasurer. Ms. Rhynhart’s responsibilities as City Treasurer include oversight of all activities related to the issuance of debt by the City, including the sale of general obligation and various revenue bonds, such as Airport, Water/Wastewater and Philadelphia Gas Works, as well as bonds issued by other City-related agencies. She is also responsible for the investment of approximately $2.0 billion of operating and bond funds, as well as managing the City’s depository banking. As City Treasurer, one of Ms. Rhynhart’s key responsibilities was keeping rating agencies aware of developments with the City budget.
“I’m honored that the Mayor has selected me for this role,” said Ms. Rhynhart. “I look forward to tackling the budgetary challenges facing the City while helping to meet policy objectives.”
Prior to her tenure with the City, Ms. Rhynhart headed the Tax-Exempt Group in Bear Stearns’ Global Credit Department, assessing the creditworthiness of municipalities and not-for-profit organizations for derivative trading. From 2001 to 2005, she worked as a credit analyst for Fitch Ratings.
Ms. Rhynhart holds a Masters of Public Administration, with a concentration in Public Finance, from Columbia University and a BA in Environmental Studies and English from Middlebury College.