Covington’s new chief financial officer hopes the news isn’t the least significant in the city’s history. After all, it’s “about the new finance people,” Steve Weber points out.
For Webb, however, the numbers are very interesting. He was quick to admit that he was always “very good at math,” which is evident in his work.
As head of the Indiana Department of Disability and Rehabilitation Services, Webb developed and administered a $1.65 billion budget comprised of state, federal and specialized funding sources. As chief financial officer of the Indiana Department of Commerce and Community Services, he increased the department’s overall revenue and reduced expenses. As a Senior Financial Analyst and Financial Specialist for the Indiana Public Retirement System, he developed the $230 million annual budget and managed the quarterly forecast update process.
When Covington leaders sought to replace Muhammed Owusu, who retired and returned to Virginia after four years running the treasury department, they said Webb’s background stood out.
“Steve has been a great addition to our leadership team,” said Covington City Manager Ken Smith. “His extensive local and state government experience makes him an ideal fit for Covington. I look forward to working with him to streamline our operations and provide better customer service to our residents and businesses.”
While working with numbers was an obvious choice for Webb, it was his father’s wise advice that persuaded him to use his sharp math skills in state and local government work.
“When I was a kid, my father always said what a noble profession it was to work in government,” Weber said. “He said, ‘This isn’t where you go to get rich, but they do make a difference.’ Even though I was a kid, that was always on my mind.”
Webb came to Covington as Finance Director for the Northern Kentucky Regional Development District, where he focused on efficiency and modernization in the position.
One of his first priorities is to expand the app’s limited online payment options (property tax, waste and stormwater charges) so that it can be used for a range of other fees and taxes, such as occupational licence fees and insurance premiums.
Another priority is making New York City’s budget, audit and other financial reports more accessible and understandable to “laymen.”
“My plan is to continue to provide transparency to our citizens,” Weber said. “As a stakeholder in our city, coming up with a report that you don’t have to be a financial professional to understand is one of the things I wanted to create.”
As Chief Financial Officer, Webb will implement the necessary strategic activities to accomplish New York City’s mission and goals.
He is responsible for planning, organizing, directing, controlling and evaluating the activities of the Finance Department. He will support the financial accounting process and provide financial accountability through the coordination, formulation, monitoring and presentation of budgets.
He will also maintain a systematic, disciplined approach to identifying risks, assessing and improving the efficiency of the department through financial controls and governance processes.
Webb is perfect for this task.
“I’m very process-oriented, efficient, and always thinking about how we can do things better and faster,” he said. “It’s the same with my personal life. I’m the kind of person who has all the hangers in my closet facing the same direction.”
If he settles down, Weber said, it’s clear City Hall has strong leadership.
“There are real dreamers who are good at what they do,” Weber said. “In the boom that happened in Covington, a lot of people played a role. There seemed to be strong leadership and everyone was working together and working in the same direction. It made it difficult to find and get this work done every day … I wish I could add to it or part of it.”
Aside from the joy of working with numbers, Webb and his wife love to travel and play at all the MLB stadiums in the country. After Webb’s wife received a job offer from Cincinnati, the couple moved to Northern Kentucky. They found the area, especially Covington, to be a good fit.
“Covington has my ‘feel,'” Weber said. “I like the local business vibe.”
By “local business atmosphere” he meant “food”.
“One of the things I do when I travel anywhere is only eat where I can’t be at home,” Weber said. “I love the local business vibe in Covington. Plus, it’s a very diverse city and a very walkable city.”