Boston’s chief financial officer is departing, creating another key role for the Wu administration to fill as the city heads into budget season.
City CFO Justin Sterritt is departing in mid-April to work for global professional services company Accenture LLP in a senior strategy and consulting role, the city confirmed as officials say the Administration & Finance cabinet will be in “great hands” going forward this budget season.
Sterritt has been the CFO for the past year, and was the budget director for four years before that. He’s been a busy member of now three mayoral administrations, and a patient describer of all things city finance to many a reporter over various budget cycles and federal aid packages.
“I’m grateful for Justin’s years of service to the City of Boston,” Mayor Michelle Wu said in a statement to the Herald. “His steady leadership before and throughout the pandemic has helped ensure that Boston maintained our AAA bond rating and strong financial position. We will build on Justin’s legacy as we work to address our City’s most pressing challenges and build a city for everyone. I wish Justin the best of luck in his new role.”
Wu’s chief of staff Tiffany Chu sent an email to staffers earlier this week that thanked Sterritt for his “enduring contributions to the City,” and said, “Over the months ahead, the City will be conducting a search for its next Chief Financial Officer.”
Chu said the city will slide in two City Hall veterans to “co-lead” the Administration & Finance cabinet as the city searches for a new CFO. Alex Lawrence, who has been working as the interim chief information officer, will move over to deputy chief of administration, overseeing the Human Resources, Labor Relations and Registry Departments and focusing on modernizing both internal and external services.
And Ellen Hatch, who currently the chief of staff for the Administration & Finance Cabinet and has been working on the upcoming budget, will become the the deputy chief of finance, overseeing Assessing, Auditing, Budget, Treasury, Community Preservation, Procurement, and the Retirement Board.
Both will take their new roles April 15, as Sterritt leaves — and the day after the administration delivers the first pass at the upcoming fiscal year’s budget to the council.
This is the latest key administration role that Wu is looking to fill. She currently has search efforts for a police commissioner and schools superintendent ongoing. The administration has been filling some other weighty roles, including appointing a chief information officer this week.
The first draft of the budget is due to council in mid-April. The council then holds hearings on it before sending it back to the administration, which can make changes and resubmit. This year is the first with some extra budgetary rules passed by referendum last year that give the council more input before having to pass it by the end of June.
The past couple of years have seen rocky budget cycles, but the city’s passed a budget each time without having to go to the emergency month-by-month stopgap measures that are the alternative.