Charlotte hires Kelly Flannery as CFO

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Charlotte, North Carolina has hired Kelly Flannery to be the city’s new chief financial officer.

Flannery starts her new job in Charlotte June 10. She is currently the deputy CFO for the city of Chicago, and will leave that position on Friday.

Charlotte Manager Marcus D. Jones said Flannery was hired after an extensive national search and that she will direct day-to-day financial operations for the city, including oversight for the accounting of all funds totaling $2.6 billion.

“With her municipal experience and expertise, Kelly will guide us as we analyze our strengths and opportunities to make strong financial investments in Charlotte’s future,” the city said in a memo to senior staffers on Thursday.

Flannery received a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

“Kelly brings a track record of principled financial discipline and success,” Jones said. “Team Charlotte welcomes her leadership and knowledge back to our region.”

Flannery served in several fiscal roles for Chicago since joining its finance team 10 years ago, including the last three as chief financial officer Carole Brown's right-hand person on debt management and other fiscal matters.

Flannery worked under two mayors, former Mayor Richard M. Daley and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who did not seek re-election this February. Like Brown, Flannery is leaving city government along with Emanuel although incoming Mayor Lori Lightfoot had asked her to stay on.

Flannery is well-liked and respected by the local public finance community. Her tenure covered a tumultuous decade for city finances.

Chicago’s ratings and balance sheet began deteriorating during the Great Recession and one of its ratings sunk to junk in May 2015 due to the city's pension funding woes. While red ink continues to challenge the city, officials have made progress over the last several years in raising pension funding, stabilizing ratings, and chipping away at its structural budget gaps.

“Kelly played a pivotal role in helping to implement Mayor Emanuel’s fiscal reforms. I couldn’t be happier that the city of Charlotte recognized all that she could bring to their team,” said Brown, who will also leave her post after Emanuel hands the reins of city government to Lightfoot on May 20.

Before working with Chicago, Flannery was a senior municipal bond analyst with Mergent Inc., a global financial information services company in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

Flannery will replace Robert Campbell, who had been Charlotte’s interim chief financial officer since former CFO Randy Harrington left to become the manager of the Town of Holly Springs, North Carolina, in August 2018.

Charlotte is the largest city in the state, with more than 860,000 residents. It has 8,000 employees. The city’s $601.7 million of outstanding general obligation bonds are rated triple-A by Fitch Ratings, Moody's Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings.

Another $2.28 billion of revenues bonds were outstanding as of June 20, 2018.

Yvette Shields contributed to this article.

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Career moves Public finance City of Charlotte, NC North Carolina