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Guide to the Archives of the City of Seattle

Record Group 2700
Department of Finance

In 1991, Mayor Norm Rice convened a blue ribbon commission to review the City's financial management functions. That group proposed the formation of a Finance Department under the executive branch of government, to replace the existing elected offices of Comptroller and Treasurer. A City Charter amendment to that effect was referred to the voters at the November 1991 general election. The amendment passed and the details of the reorganization were laid out in Ordinance 115766. Preparations proceeded the following year to determine the organizational structure, responsibilities, and budget of the new department, which was inaugurated in January 1993.

The department was organized into four divisions to reflect the main functions of treasury, accounting services, data processing system services, and Finance Department administration. In July 1994, the department's responsibilities were further broadened through a merger with the Department of Licenses and Consumer Affairs. This merger created one central location for obtaining licenses, making utility payments, and getting other types of financial services. The department also became responsible also for the city's animal shelter.

On January 1, 1997, the Finance Department was reorganized into the Executive Services Department. It became known as the Finance Division, and continued essentially the same services performed prior to consolidation.

The new Department of Finance, headed by a Director of Finance, was created in 2001 based on another reorganization outlined in Ordinance 120181. In May 2002 the Department was reorganized again to create two separate departments: the Department of Finance, which focused closely on financial management, and the Department of Executive Administration, which handled the operational and administrative tasks performed by the previous larger department. Finance was responsible for budget development and monitoring, debt management, financial policies, financial planning, performance measurement, and overall financial controls for the City of Seattle. The department also oversaw policy on city taxes, investments, accounting, and related activities.

Director’s Records

13.4 cubic feet

Records of the Director of the Department of Finance, including correspondence, subject files, financial reports, working papers, committee files, and related material concerning accounting services, budgets, taxes, debt management, investments, other financial issues and capital projects, including development of the downtown civic center. Also included is correspondence of City Treasurer, Lloyd Hara, which predates the creation of the Department of Finance. Dwight Dively’s files span his service as Director of the Executive Services Department and, subsequently, as Director of the Finance Department. Files of staffers of the Executive Services Department and Department of Finance are included which concern the Goals, Actions, Results and Measures (GARMS) of the Mayor's Office and City Council, and strategic planning on transportation, parking, Fire Department and other issues. Files concerning financial oversight of Public Development Authorities were created by the Office Management and Budget, Office of Management and Planning and Strategic Planning Office staff.

Folder List
Finding Aid

Budget Director’s Records

5.2 cubic feet

Correspondence, subject files, studies, and notes of the Director of Management and Budget, including the Management Systems Office, 1970-1976. Files concern budgets, revenues, taxes, City Council committees and data management systems. Also included are correspondence, project files, and subject files of the Director of Management and Planning, Judy Bunnell, 1994-1998, concerning use of the Sand Point Naval Station, the Seattle Financial Management System, storm damage, capital projects and revenues. Budget Director Joan Walters’ files concern the City budget and financial analyses of projects, programs and issues, including the Nisqually Earthquake recovery and voter initiatives.

See also Office of Management and Planning Director's Records (Record Series 5001-03).

Folder List
Finding Aid