Newark business administrator ­Michelle Thomas last week left her position as the city’s top fiscal chief to work at the Ferguson Group, a lobbying firm that represents local governments in Washington, D.C. Assistant business administrator Michael Greene will take Thomas’ position in an acting capacity.

Mayor Cory Booker appointed Thomas as the city’s business administrator in October after she had served in that post for nearly two years on an acting basis. During her tenure, she helped to reduce Newark’s budget deficit by more than half, or $105 million. Booker and Thomas have been eager to end the city’s dependence on special municipal aid, a state program that gives additional funds to local governments.

She also negotiated reduced salary increases with unions, cut overtime, and increased the city’s payroll tax collections by 13%.

“Michelle Thomas led our city through some of its most challenging days of reform and transformation,” Booker said in a prepared statement.

Thomas is the director of TFG Grants, a new unit within the Ferguson Group that helps local governments, academic institutions, and other entities obtain federal grants.

Greene’s prior city positions include assistant director of neighborhood and recreational services, director of the division of water and sewer utilities, and chief information officer, overseeing the city’s computer system.

He obtained his law degree at Pace University and has an MBA from Boston University Metropolitan College along with a BS in political science from the U.S. Naval Academy. He served in the Iraq War from 2003 to 2004 in the Marine Corps.

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