Covington’s new CFO Steve Webb aims to simplify business transactions and increase accessibility

The new Chief Financial Officer for the City of Covington hopes this news is not the least read in the City’s history. After all, Steve Webb points out, this is “the new kind of finance.”

For Webb, however, the numbers are extremely interesting. And he is quick to admit that he was always “very good at math,” which is evident in his work.

As controller of the Indiana Division of Disability and Rehabilitation Services, Webb developed and managed a $1.65 billion budget comprised of state, federal, and dedicated funding sources. As chief financial officer of the Indiana Department of Business and Neighborhood Services, he increased the department’s overall revenue and reduced expenses. And as a senior financial analyst and financial specialist for the Indiana Public Retirement System, he created a $230 million annual budget and managed quarterly forecast update processes.

As Covington leaders sought to replace Muhammed Owusu, who retired and returned home to Virginia after four years at the helm of the Finance Department, they said Webb’s record stood out.

Steve Webb (City of Covington photo)

“Steve has been a great addition to our leadership team,” said Covington City Manager Ken Smith. “His extensive experience in state and local government made him a perfect 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 convinced him to use his keen math skills in state and local government employment.

“When I was a kid, my dad always talked about how working in government was such a noble profession,” Webb said. “He said, ‘It’s not where you’re going to get rich, but it does make a difference.’ Even though he was a child, that was in the back of my mind.”

Webb, who was finance director at the Northern Kentucky Area Development District before coming to Covington, brings an eye for efficiency and modernization to the position.

One of his priorities is to expand an online payment option with limited enforcement (property taxes and stormwater and wastewater fees) so that it can be used for a variety of other fees and taxes, such as occupational license fees and insurance premium tax.

Another priority is making the City’s budget, audit, and other financial reports more accessible and easier to understand for “lay people.”

“My plan is to continue down the path of transparency for our citizens,” Webb said. “Preparing a report that you don’t have to be a financial professional to understand as a stakeholder in our city is one of the things I’d like to create.”

As CFO, Webb will implement the strategic activities necessary to achieve the City’s mission and goals.

It is in charge of the planning, organization, direction, control and evaluation of the activities of the Financial Department. It will support financial accounting processes and provide fiscal responsibility through the coordination, formulation, monitoring and presentation of budgets.

You will also maintain a systematic and disciplined approach to identifying risks and evaluating and improving the effectiveness of the department through financial controls and governance processes.

Webb is well up to the task.

“I’m very process-oriented, efficient, always thinking about how we can do things better and faster,” he said. “I am like that in my personal life too. I’m the person with all the hangers in the closet facing the same way.”

As he settles into the job, Webb said it’s clear there is strong leadership on the City Council.

“There are true visionaries, people who excel at what they do,” Webb said. “Many people are playing a role in the boom that is happening in Covington. There seems to be strong leadership across the board, and everyone is working together, pulling in the same direction. That makes a job that is really hard easy to do every day. I hope I’m adding something to that or part of it.”

Aside from the joy of working with numbers, Webb and his wife enjoy traveling and have attended games at every Major League Baseball stadium in the country. The couple moved to northern Kentucky when Webb’s wife received a job offer in Cincinnati. They have found that the region, particularly Covington, is a good fit.

“Covington has my ‘feel,’” Webb said. “I like the local business environment.”

And by “local business environment,” he means “the food.”

“One of the things I do when I travel anywhere is eat only at places I can’t go at home,” Webb said. “I like the local business environment in Covington. In addition, it is an extremely diverse and very walkable city.”

City of Covington

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