COVINGTON, Ky. (April 10, 2018) — The City of Covington’s new finance director has 20 years of experience managing money and overseeing public spending in state and city governments around the country, including in New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Muhammed Owusu was hired Tuesday night on a 5-0 vote of the Covington City Commission.
Owusu currently is project manager of the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans. He previously served as deputy director of Finance & Administration for the City of Richmond, Va.; associate treasurer of the District of Columbia; debt/innovative finance manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation; and senior budget examiner for New York State.
Covington City Manager David Johnston said that Owusu would bring a balance of skills and knowledge: His resume features a solid background in the technical world of budgeting, financing and accounting, and in his interviews he demonstrated a strong affinity for leadership and managing people.
“It’s a good combination,” Johnston said. “He’s also a good fit for Covington, having done a lot of administrative work in urban cores and having experienced the challenges of providing services to economically diverse communities.”
Owusu’s first day as director of finance will be April 30.
Mayor Joe Meyer said city residents should feel good about the hire.
“We’re just delighted to have someone with his experience and knowledge of government accounting coming to head up our finance department,” the mayor said.
Johnston said Owusu should bring stability to a department that has been led by a variety of people since then-finance director Bill Due was sent to prison in 2014 for embezzling money from the city. Johnston praised the work of accounting manager Jerome Heist, who has been serving as Covington’s acting finance director since the resignation of interim director Bill Moller in July 2017.
The nationwide search, which was directed by Johnston and the city’s Human Resources department, attracted nearly three dozen qualified candidates, he said.
“We’re privileged to have Owusu,” the city manager said. “We’re looking for the best people to serve the residents of Covington.”
The hire is timely. The Finance Department is leading the process of crafting a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The city’s current annual General Fund budget is just under $53 million.
Overall, the department is responsible for ensuring financial integrity by directing all financial affairs of the city. Specific duties include general accounting, auditing, purchasing, payroll, collections and budget development and monitoring.