Ronald G. Henry, who guided Philadelphia's oversight authority through some of the worst years of the city's fiscal crisis, resigned yesterday to begin working as an independent consultant.
Henry said he plans to advise public and private clients on ways to improve spending and operating efficiency.
As executive director of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, Henry gained a wealth of experience in government restructuring and streamlining.
After joining PICA at its founding in 1991, Henry led the agency's staff through three bond sales totaling more than $1.3 billion. Proceeds were used partly to bond out the city's accumulated deficits and partly to provide a source of financing for sorely needed capital infrastructure projects.
Henry said the authority expects to raise about $100 million for capital projects with a final bond issue later this year.
In exchange for the authority's help, Philadelphia agreed to a multiyear restructuring program and limited fiscal oversight from the agency. Henry's staff directed the drafting of the recovery plan, which included initiatives ranging from the replacement of red lights with stop signs to negotiations with unions over major cuts in wage and benefit packages.
Before joining the authority, Henry was chief counsel to the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. From 1985 to 1990, he was a vice president in the public finance division of Smith Barney Inc. in Philadelphia.
Henry's departure marks one of the final mileposts in Philadelphia's emergence from the crisis atmosphere that prevailed just four years ago, when a routine note sale collapsed in the face of unprecedented cash flow shortages.
Henry's successor, who has not yet been named, will preside over an agency whose influence is clearly on the wane. PICA's bonding authority expires in December, and most independent analysts expect Philadelphia to return to investment-grade status sometime later this year or early in 1995.
The city currently sits in the double-B range at all three major municipal bond rating agencies.
Peter Geleta, a deputy executive director at the authority, was named acting executive director until a successor can be chosen.