The vice chairman of the city’s powerful Board of Finance is stepping down.
Roald Erling, who has logged 20 years on the board, is ready to enjoy his retirement without the burden of public service, several officials said Wednesday.
Erling, who could not be reached, has always been one of the most fiscally conservative members of the nine-person panel that has controlled the city’s budget and bonding since the Great Depression.
“He was a very dedicated member of the finance board, very learned very knowledgeable,” Mayor Art Ward. “He served with distinction.”
A low-key, easy-going man, Erling nonetheless had no trouble saying no to politicians’ pet projects.
A critic of government growth, Erling voiced strong support for maintaining a healthy rainy day fund while holding down property taxes.
Erling, whose term expires in 2011, served on the panel from 1983 to 1997 and then rejoined it in 2003. He was last reappointed unanimously by the City Council in 2007.
When he resigned in 1997 to care for his ailing wife, then-Finance Chairman John Letizia called Erling "the epitome of a finance commissioner" because "he was knowledgeable, hard-working, dedicated, honorable and his only agenda item was to help the city’s taxpayers."He said that Erling, who was vice chair of the panel at the time, “functioned as my co-chairman" because Letizia "had such tremendous confidence in his judgment."
"Roald had the ability to analyze the details and then view the big picture before making a decision,” Letizia said, adding that Erling’s “deep spirituality enabled him to overcome any personal prejudices he might have had in any situation.”
Assuming he is reelected on Tuesday, Ward said he will likely nominate a successor to Erling at the December City Council meeting.
Others on the panel are Finance Chairman Rich Miecznikowski, Ward, Greg Fradette, Janet Moylan, Mark Peterson, John Smith, Cheryl Thibeault and Paul Tonon.
Moylan and Peterson are approaching the end of their terms next summer. The rest are set until at least 2011.
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