Print Camp Verde needs a finance director
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 00:00

When the Town of Camp Verde found itself facing a few years of financial difficulties, thanks in large part to declining sales tax revenues, the town’s elected leaders approved a hiring freeze.

It’s caused difficulties in some town departments, as people retire and transfer out, leaving their workloads behind with no one to tackle them.

There’s one position, however, the town doesn’t feel it can afford to keep vacant: town finance director.

The town is hoping to fill the position with someone qualified as soon as possible, Town Manager Russ Martin said. That’s especially true since the news came that the town’s senior accountant, Lisa Elliott, submitted her two-week notice of resignation Jan. 10. Elliott’s last day will be Friday, Jan. 21.

Elliott played an important role in helping to reorganize the town’s finance department in recent years. After the former full-time finance director was forced to resign by the town in late 2007, the town’s leaders discovered its finances were in a mess.

The town hired Michael Scannell, a man with a strong understanding of finances, as town manager. Scannell and Elliott spent a great deal of time restructuring the department and helping to get the way the town handles its money back on track.

Scannell served as temporary finance director until his resignation earlier last year.

The town restructured the department so future finance directors will answer to the town manager, not serve in a separate capacity answering directly to the Town Council.

As evidence of what Elliott’s efforts did for the town, she was recently awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada, a professional nonprofit group and the only one to issue national awards in the field of governmental budgeting.

Elliot was one of a few who won the award, according to the association, and those selected were recognized for their efforts in improving the quality of budgeting and setting an example for other governments throughout North America.

On top of that, the association recently awarded the town a Certificate of Achievement of Excellence in Financial Reporting as a result of the quality of the town’s comprehensive annual financial report. The award is issued to finance departments the association has deemed go above and beyond good professional standards of financial transparency.

Elliott plans to help the town transition through her departure from the finance department.

“During the next two weeks I will be working closely with Russ [Martin] and [accountant] Debbie Hughes to develop strategies to assist the town in moving forward,” Elliott wrote. “I appreciate the opportunities that I have been given and have enjoyed working with you all.”

Martin said the town is actively advertising to fill the vacant finance director’s position.

According to a help wanted ad posted online, the town is looking for someone with at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or business administration and at least five years experience in government accounting and budgeting, including two years of supervisory experience. The beginning salary is listed at $63,385.

Martin said he hopes to soon begin the first review of resumes and cover letters, and start interviews sometime in February.