Legal dispute means outgoing District Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi will be staying on indefinitely. (Harry Hamburg/AP)

Outgoing Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, who earlier this month announced his intention to retire on June 1, now says he will stay on the job indefinitely until his successor is ready to start.

In a letter to Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Gandhi cited the possibility that the time necessary to complete a search and navigate the requisite approvals of the D.C. Council and Congress would outstrip the timeframe he had originally contemplated.

“Accordingly, and as we discussed, I am willing to continue to serve as Chief Financial Officer until such time as my successor is legally authorized to take office,” he wrote.

Note the “legally authorized” language: According to two officials with knowledge of the matter who are not authorized to speak publicly, the letter was prompted after legal questions were raised about appointing an interim CFO to serve after Gandhi leaves but before a permanent replacement is confirmed.

The District charter does not include a provision for an interim CFO, leading to a difference of opinion between council and mayoral lawyers as to what sort of arrangement would be permissible. Gandhi’s decision to stay on past June 1 renders the debate moot — for now, anyway.

The announcement comes two days before Gray and Gandhi are expected to join D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) and council finance chair Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) in New York for meetings with Wall Street bond raters.