March 6, 2013 10:38:18 AM
Jeff Clark - [email protected]
After months of searching, the City of Columbus now has a new chief financial officer.
The city council voted unanimously to hire Milton Rawle Jr. of Vicksburg. Rawle was one of two finalists for the position.
Rawle did not attend Tuesday's council meeting.
The motion to hire Rawle was made by Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box, who served on the search committee, which also included with Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem. Other members of the committee were human resources director Pat Mitchell, Mayor Robert Smith, Chief Operations Officer David Armstrong and former CFOs Mike Bernsen and Mike Crowder. Rawle replaces Bernsen, who left the city Dec. 31 to work for Columbus Light and Water.
"We had 65 applicants for this position," Smith said. "We narrowed it down to three."
The third finalist withdrew before final interviews, which were held last week.
The salary for the position was advertised at between $68,000-$73,000. The board approved Rawle's salary at $71,000 on a recommendation by Mitchell.
"This salary will be with no increase unless there are raises across the board," Smith said.
According to Rawle's professional profile on LinkedIn.com., he has more than 10 years experience working in various financial positions in the casino industry. His last listed work experience was Director of Finance for Delta Investments and Development. Rawle said he worked for the company from August 2011-April 2012.
Delta Investments and Development filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in April 2012. The investment group owned the now-defunct Vicksburg-based Grand Station Casino. The group claims a $3 million debt to Bally's as part of its bankruptcy.
In October, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Neil P. Olack awarded the 36,000- square-foot casino to M Street Inc., after it bid $400,000 on the facility in a Chapter 11 proceeding. Less than two months later, the sale was converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation case when the group of Dallas-area investors and the casino's former owner -- Delta Investments & Development LLC -- failed to close the deal.
Delta Investments is scheduled to be back in U.S. Bankruptcy Court April 5.
Karriem said the committee had discussed the bankruptcy and it did not influence their decision to recommend Rawle.
"I was impressed with Rawle's resumé," Box said. "I think he will be an asset to the city. I am excited about this decision."
This story contains additional reporting by The Associated Press.