The new financial management services department combines budget, capital projects, treasury, purchasing, risk management, accounting and financial systems.
Lena Ellis, who had been chief financial officer, is no longer with the city, Bill Begley, a city spokesman, said.
Porter, the city’s budget officer since 2009, has won accolades from Mayor Betsy Price and city council members for steering tight budgets and building a five-year financial forecast.
"It’s an excellent change, and I think it’ll be beneficial to all of us," Price said, of Porter’s promotion and the departmental restructuring, during a morning council meeting today.
"I think this is a solid change, and something we can all look forward to," Councilman Dennis Shingleton said.
Porter, who had reported to City Manager Tom Higgins, now reports to Assistant City Manager Susan Alanis, who had oversight for the old financial managerment services unit.
Alanis said it made sense to combine the units.
"That’s the way the CFO operates with most other organizations," she said. "It’s all under one umbrella."
Porter, a certified public accountant and TCU graduate, has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and MBA in finance.
"Horatio has been an excellent resource and leader during the yearly budget process and has displayed the skills needed to address today’s challenges and provide the long-term planning needed to address challenges in the future," Higgins said.
"He has done an excellent job as budget officer and has the skills and knowledge to be an excellent chief financial officer."
City officials declined to discuss the reasons for Ellis’ departure, citing confidentiallity of personnel matters.
Alanis said only "there was a personnel decision in that department" that created a management void and opportunity, and "we responded to it."
The confirmation of Ellis’ departure came after a holiday payroll snafu in which a payroll wasn’t processed on time, causing some city employees to have to wait a weekend to get access to their funds. The city has since announced several changes in the payroll process.
Ellis, reached last week, declined to comment directly on her departure, saying "I hope we can work things out."
"I love the city of Fort Worth and I don’t want to disparage the city and I certainly don’t want to see my name disparaged," Ellis said.
Ellis, a CPA, has a lengthy resume that includes working for the cities of San Antonio; Portland, Ore.; Phoenix; and Corpus Christi; and D/FW Airport.
- Scott Nishimura, Star-Telegram Fort Worth City Hall reporter