It is best if the finances of the City of Williamsport are not handled by one or two people.
In a series of questions from Councilor Liz Miele, chair of the finance committee, new finance consultant Tracey Rash, of Government Finance Solutions, Harrisburg, acknowledged this.
Part of a strategy conveyed to Council by Mayor Derek Slaughter is to address a decade of “mismanagement” in the finance department.
“We’re going to move forward and figure out how we set up the finance department, what it looks like, and what we (the city) can afford,” You got it.
Miele urged management to consider hiring people such as a finance manager because “The last thing we want is someone (Rash) cleaning up the mess and no one to take his place.”
Miele noted that Rash is looking to reconcile finances, so whatever she ultimately does is unlikely to reveal a net loss or net gain. Rash has not been able to confirm this for Miele at this time.
“You are awesome,” said Council Chairman Adam Yoder, addressing his assertion to Rash. “We can’t pay you.”
Indeed, at $13,383 in the first month, that would be around $160,000 per year.
Council put in place a contract amendment for Rash to be 120 days from meeting or an $85,000 cap, said Councilman Eric Beiter, who made the motion but with 90 days because he didn’t want to. not too much exposure but was also pleased with Rash’s achievements.
Yoder also urged the mayor to come up with a timeline for full-time staff and a funding plan to keep coming out of the yard.
Slaughter said he and human resources manager Molly Steel Shrimp explored other third-class cities and the rate for a CFO was $102,000. He agrees that it will be difficult to find someone with Rash’s skills, competence and efficiency.
He asked the Board to consider future costs, especially in this labor market. He suggested allowing him to reconcile the accounts “So we know exactly how much money we have.”
Once that happens, and one continually delves into the finances, the administration can look at what the department might need in terms of full-time and part-time employees and, perhaps, internships.