Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Matt Boston, budget adviser for Spokane’s City Council, named chief financial officer by Mayor Brown

Matt Boston has been tapped as Spokane's chief financial officer by Mayor Lisa Brown.   (Christopher Anderson)

Matt Boston, who has been the lead financial and budgetary adviser for the Spokane City Council since 2021, has a new job on the other side of City Hall.

Boston has been tapped by Mayor Lisa Brown as the city’s next chief financial officer, her office announced in a press release on Wednesday. He will return from paternity leave on Jan. 17. His nomination is expected to be considered by the City Council on Jan. 22.

“Balancing our budget is among my top priorities and I am confident that Matt Boston is the person for the job,” Brown said in a written statement.

Brown had announced during her campaign for mayor that she intended to replace Tonya Wallace, who served as chief financial officer under former Mayor Nadine Woodward. Brown repeatedly accused Woodward on the campaign trail of poor financial management. City leaders faced a $20 million hole in the 2024 budget. Some City Council members argued the administration’s finance office had not been transparent or adequately communicated the city’s financial woes.

Brown’s office said in the news release that Wallace will step down on Jan. 15 after Brown and Wallace “mutually agreed” to Wallace’s resignation.

“I am proud of the many great accomplishments of the team of professionals, dedicated leaders, and staff within the Division of Finance and Administration that will continue to serve and support the City’s numerous departments,” Wallace wrote in the press release.

As the City Council’s budget and finance director, Boston helped council members navigate through the city’s significant post-pandemic financial difficulties and rang alarm bells about upcoming budget cliffs. The position was first created in 2010 to serve as a mirror to the mayoral administration’s chief financial officer, one of the first steps in a decade-long process to increase the City Council’s autonomy.

“He’s extremely talented and helped us navigate through this budget for 2024,” said City Council President Betsy Wilkerson. “The council feels they’ll have a continued good relationship and can trust the information that comes out of the finance department. So I welcome this opportunity for Mr. Boston.”

Boston said he plans to increase transparency and improve communications with the City Council in his new role, and was proud to have worked the last few years with council members across the political spectrum.

“We had bipartisan legislation that came through, with budget priorities that were in the best interest of the long-term financial health of the institution of Spokane,” Boston said. “When you have all of council, or nearly all of council passing budgets 6-1 or 7-0, or passing legislation to safeguard our city finances, we can look back and say that’s success.”

Councilman Michael Cathcart, a member of the council’s conservative minority, praised Boston’s work for the city’s legislative body.

“He was always incredibly available, willing to work with myself and other council members with our ideas, and always willing to dig into the details to see if an idea we had would work,” Cathcart said.

The City Council will still begin recruiting for his replacement, despite hopes for a closer relationship with the administration under Brown’s leadership, Wilkerson said.

“As much as the relationship is there, his focus will be the administration,” Wilkerson said. “We need somebody with another set of eyes.”