Print Camp Verde hires new finance director
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 00:00

For the first time in nearly two-and-a-half years, the Town of Camp Verde will have a full-time finance director.

Melissa Preston will be charged with heading up the town’s finance department starting Wednesday, March 16, Town Manager Russ Martin said.

Preston has several years of experience that will come in handy in Camp Verde, Martin said.

Preston formerly worked in the Scottsdale city auditor’s office before taking another job on the other side of the Valley of the Sun.

In Glendale, Preston started in the finance department before eventually becoming a senior management assistant in the town’s economic development department. In that position Preston worked to help the town manage budget operations for Super Bowl XLII and the Fiesta Bowl and focused on attracting and keeping business in town.

When it comes to education, Preston holds a master’s degree in educational psychology, human relations and a bachelor of science degree in applied management.

“[Preston] also has really strong computer skills and a strong economic development background,” Martin said.

That’s going to be useful, Martin said, in a town that could use a good dose of economic development in the middle of a budget slump.

Preston was selected by an interview committee after a field of 17 applicants for the position were narrowed down.

Martin gave Preston a tour last week of where she’ll be working. Martin said he wanted her to get a feel for the place before the town finishes switching over to new financial software that’s replacing an often outdated system.

Preston said she was “very excited” about making the move to Camp Verde and the change wasn’t just about a job, it was a quality of life issue for her.

She said she’s ready to hit the ground running.

“You don’t want to grow things too fast,” Preston said. “But I’m certainly hoping for the opportunity to bring in more revenue.”

In addition to handling budget issues, the town’s finance director is responsible for maintaining the town’s bank accounts, assisting with the annual financial audit and several other duties.

Preston will be the first town finance director to hold the position since the job was reclassified by Camp Verde Town Council. The director used to answer directly to the Town Council independently of the town manager. The person in the finance director’s position now reports to the town manager. The changes came in the wake of financial issues that took the Town Council by surprise when revealed in an audit.

The town manager has been serving as a de facto finance director since the last person to hold that job left in 2007.