Finances in the city of Williamsport are not best managed by one or two people.
As part of a series of questions from Councilwoman Liz Miele, chair of the finance committee, new financial consultant Tracey Rash of Government Finance Solutions, Harrisburg, acknowledged as much.
Part of a strategy sent to the Council by Mayor Derek Slaughter, is to heal a decade “bad management” in the finance department.
“We’re going to move forward and figure out how we put the finance department together, what it looks like and what we (the city) can afford.” You got it.
Miele urged the administration to look into hiring people like a chief financial officer because “The last thing we want is someone (Rash) cleaning up the mess and no one to fill his place.”
Miele noted that Rash is looking to reconcile the finances, whatever he does, he probably won’t disclose a net loss or a net gain. Rash could not confirm this at this time for Miele.
“You’re great,” Council President Adam Yoder said, directing his statement to Rash. “We can not afford it”.
In fact, at $13,383 in the first month, that would be about $160,000 a year.
Council set a contract modification for Rash for 120 days from the time of the meeting or a cap of $85,000, said Councilman Eric Beiter, who made the motion but with 90 days because he didn’t want too much exhibition, but he was also satisfied with Rash’s achievements.
Yoder also urged the mayor to come up with a schedule for full-time staff and a funding plan to continue moving out of triage.
Slaughter said he and Human Resources Director Molly Steel Shrimp have explored other third-class cities, and the going rate for a CFO is $102,000. He agreed that someone with Rash’s competence, skill set and efficiency will be a challenge to find.
He asked that the Council consider the cost moving forward, especially in this job market. He suggested that she allow him to settle the accounts “So we know exactly what money we have.”
Once that happens, and an ongoing dive into finances occurs, the administration can look at what the department might need in terms of full-time and part-time employees and, perhaps, internships.
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