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Letter: Aug. 29, 2012

Thank You, Bruce Johnson.

— To the Editor:

The citizens of Alexandria owe a debt of gratitude to Bruce Johnson, who is retiring from city government. Bruce took over the city’s Office of Management and Budget in 2003 after years of service to the federal government as the budget director for the United States court system and on the staff of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and U.S. General Accounting Office. When he came to work in City Hall, Alexandria got not only a recognized budget expert but someone who already knew the ins and outs of city finances from the years he spent as the School Board's representative on the city’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee.

During his tenure on BFAAC, he wrote knowledgeably on a variety of budget issues but it was his authorship of what became the city's debt policy guidelines that has had an enduring impact as these guidelines established metrics for the amount of money the city could/should borrow for capital projects and still maintain its coveted double, triple A bond rating. His expertise in public finance benefited the city greatly in raising funds for improvements as diverse as sewers, affordable housing, open space, recreation centers and schools.

Bruce later served as the city’s chief financial officer and as acting city manager — and in all of his positions of responsibility, he has been a steady, guiding force in good times and in fiscally challenging times. Current and former members of BFAAC who had the good fortune to work with Bruce were always struck by his professionalism, substantive knowledge and insight, good humor, patience and his dedication to the welfare of the City and all of us who call it home. We wish Bruce well in his retirement and thank him sincerely for all he has done to make Alexandria better.

Current and former chairs of BFAAC: Jim Butler, Elliott Branch, Lisa Chimento, Tim Lovain, Tracy Rickett and Holly Hemphill