Mayor-elect Michael Nutter yesterday named Stephen J. Agostini, a municipal-finance expert, to be his budget director.

Agostini, 47, is chief financial officer for the Economics and Statistics Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

His municipal-finance experience comes from a variety of positions he held in Milwaukee and San Francisco.

In announcing Agostini's appointment, Nutter lauded him as somebody who will help "to put this city back on firm financial footing for the years to come."

Among the city's fiscal challenges are rising pension and health-care costs as well as the immediate task of negotiating contracts with Philadelphia's four municipal unions, whose deals expire June 30.

Agostini said he saw his position as "an extraordinary opportunity for somebody who has been in city government for two decades. . . . There is a lot of hard work to do."

He echoed Nutter's belief that it is a "false premise" to believe that reducing taxes means reducing services.

As budget director, he will report to Finance Director Rob Dubow.

A native of New York City, Agostini moved to Philadelphia last year from Milwaukee with his wife, Nicole Else-Quest, an assistant professor of psychology at Villanova University. He had been the fiscal and budget administrator for Milwaukee County.

Before that, as an economic development adviser in San Francisco, he worked on plans for the San Francisco Giants' new baseball stadium. In Milwaukee, he influenced plans for that city's baseball stadium.

Neither Nutter nor Dubow knew Agostini until his name was mentioned to Dubow by mutual colleagues. "We got to know him in the last few weeks," Dubow said.

Budget director is not a cabinet-level position. Nutter said yesterday he hoped to announce his selections for his two remaining cabinet-level vacancies - city solicitor and city representative - before his Jan. 7 inauguration.

Nutter also has yet to announce a slew of commissioners to oversee departments, including Licenses and Inspections, Procurement, Revenue, Streets, Prisons, Fleet, Fire, and Water.

Stephen J. Agostini

Age:

47

Hometown

: New York City

Current job:

Chief financial officer for the Economics and Statistics Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce since 2006.

Experience:

Fiscal and budget administrator, Milwaukee County, Wis., 2004-06; director of performance evaluation office, State of Wisconsin, 2001-03; executive assistant, Office of the Secretary, State of Wisconsin, 1999-2000; deputy executive director of Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, 1998-99; deputy executive director, San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, 1997-98; director of finance, City of San Francisco, 1996-97; budget and management director, City of Milwaukee, 1994-96.

Personal:

Married to Nicole Else-Quest, assistant professor at Villanova University; father of 8-month-old Raeka Zoraida

Contact staff writer Marcia Gelbart at 215-854-2338 or mgelbart@phillynews.com.