Finance director faces important task

Published 9:43 pm Saturday, April 25, 2009

Although it’s been three years since the highly debated resignation of Suffolk Finance Director Christine Ledford, there remains a stigma surrounding the resignation and the how the city interacted with the finance director in the months leading up to the resignation. Nevertheless, there continues to be an opportunity for restoring credibility to the position of finance director.

Ledford submitted her resignation less than two months after the preliminary results of an independent financial analysis were released. The review, which used city audits and financial documents, found that while the city’s revenue collection was on point, a number of funds showed deficits or no cash at all, among other concerns.

Nearly 36 months later, City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn announced this month that Dale Walker would be taking over the helm. Walker will supervise a staff of 12 and earn $113,000 per year. Walker brings with him an extensive background, complete with accounting and business degrees and more than 30 years of experience serving in various roles relative to municipalities and finance.

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As finance director, Walker will be responsible for all major accounting functions, including payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, internal controls and preparing for audits.

The success of the position of finance director relies on a keen prioritizing of the internal controls and protecting the city’s much improved bond rating. Walker appears to have the experience to put those priorities in order and to provide needed stability to a vital city office.