Milton Rawle, the new chief financial officer for the City of Columbus, poses for a picture in his office at City Hall Wednesday afternoon. Rawle replaces former CFO Mike Bernsen, who accepted a position as comptroller at Columbus Light & Water. Rawle will earn an annual salary of $71,000 per year. Photo by: Carmen K. Sisson/Dispatch Staff
April 1, 2013 9:13:25 AM
You could say that Milton Rawle had to go around the world before he found his way to Mississippi.
The city's new chief financial officer is soft-spoken and polite, still in the "getting to know you" phase with both his new position as well as Columbus. So far, he says, he likes both.
Rawle, 41, began March 11, replacing former CFO Mike Bernsen, who he says has been a "huge help," stopping by the office every morning to offer advice and assistance to his successor.
Rawle's experience lies in private accounting for corporations, making the shift to governmental accounting challenging, he says. Over the past decade, he has worked primarily for casinos and resorts, including Pinnacle Entertainment in Biloxi, Isle of Capri in Lula and Horizon Casino in Vicksburg. He worked most recently as director of finance for Delta Investments and Development in Vicksburg.
He will earn $71,000 per year as the city's CFO.
Rawle, a native of Queens, N.Y., earned his bachelor's degree from Bernard M. Baruch College in New York. But he fell in love with numbers during a high school accounting class.
"That was back in the day, when we had to actually use green-bar paper," he says, laughing as he gestures toward a packet of the paper on his desk. "It's all computerized now, but it's easier for the newer generation."
As for him, he still prefers the old ways. He is a stickler for accuracy.
"I'm a detail-oriented individual," he says. "Once you know the details, you pretty much know how everything works. I like to do what's right."
It was a trait that served him well when a college recruiter enticed him to join the United States Navy. He started out with a fierce desire to see the world and ended up serving from 1994-1998, then served in the Navy Reserves from 2000-2008.
He marveled at the "awesome" club scenes in Panama and on the Greek island of Rhodes. He fell in love with Cartagena, Spain, a naval port nestled along the Mediterranean coast.
But for now, the globetrotting accountant is happy to be in Columbus, where he says there is more to do than in Vicksburg. In his spare time, he likes to play basketball, softball and his latest hobby -- golf.
His wife, Keshia, and his 12-year-old daughter, Ija, will join him in Columbus at the end of the school year.
Carmen K. Sisson is news editor at The Dispatch.
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