Raleigh's Longtime Chief Financial Officer is Retiring

News posted Jan. 19, 2017 - 4:00 pm

Perry James, who has led the City of Raleigh’s Finance Department for 22 years, is retiring effective April 1, he announced today.

Mr. James has played a leading role in the City consistently receiving high ratings from the nation’s three major bond credit rating agencies. The City’s general obligation bonds alone have received the highest credit rating, AAA, throughout Mr. James’ 35-year career in the City’s Finance Department.

“It has been an honor working for the City of Raleigh and helping manage the financial needs of our fast-growing city,” Mr. James said. “With the steady support of the City Council and the City Manager’s Office, I feel that we have been able to meet these growth needs consistently while also maintaining a strong financial position.”

A native of North Carolina and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mr. James joined the City of Raleigh in 1982 as assistant finance director after being employed at two national public accounting firms. He was promoted to finance director in 1995 and later named chief financial officer. Mr. James served as Raleigh’s interim city manager for six months in 2013 prior to the hiring of Ruffin Hall as the City’s permanent city manager.

"The City of Raleigh is extremely thankful for Perry’s service and dedication," Mr. Hall said. "The City has been a financially sound organization and much of that credit goes to Perry. We owe him a great deal of gratitude for his work.”

Mr. James has been an active participant in local government professional associations, having served four-year terms on the executive boards of the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and the North Carolina League of Municipalities. He also has served as the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s representative to the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council, which reports to the Government Accounting Standards Board. He was the president of the North Carolina GFOA and spoke or instructed at a number of national and local conferences.

The North Carolina Association of CPA’s named Mr. James the Outstanding North Carolina Member in Government in 2001-02. In the community, he has served as board member and treasurer for Diabetes Management Solutions non-profit organization.

Mr. James’ other accomplishments include:

  • Raleigh’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, prepared by the Finance Department, has received the GFOA Award of Excellence every year since 1980;
  • The City’s utility revenue bonds are now rated AAA/Aaa -- the highest rating that can be received – by the country’s three major bond credit rating agencies. Raleigh is one of just 14 entities nationwide to have this distinction;
  • Mr. James assisted in developing original financing efforts and the related model for the Raleigh Convention Center;
  • The Finance Department produces an easy-to-understand Citizens’ Annual Financial Report about the City’s financial status;
  • Mr. James has focused on consistently improving the City as a finance organization, including establishing a Management Accounting Section to perform special analytical and financial consulting efforts. The department’s Procurement Section was transformed to increase assistance to City departments; and,
  • Mr. James helped build the City’s Internal Audit office into a strong program that reports directly to the City Manager’s Office.

Mr. James and his wife, Cindy, have two grown children, Drew and Courtney, who both have families.

For more information, contact

  • Perry James, Chief Financial Officer, 919-996-3215
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