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Flint Looking for New CFO

by MICPA | May 30, 2017   ()

Flint is accepting applications for a Finance Director/Chief Financial Officer who will oversee the $162 million annual budget for this community of 102,000 residents. The position is responsible for all aspects of the city’s finances, including oversight of the strategic plan and budget, preparation of financial reports, purchasing and grant administration.

“Flint still has challenges,” noted Rich Baird, senior advisor to Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint native. “The person who is going to take this job to the next level will have to be up to those challenges.

“We have laid a great foundation and need to build on that foundation. The building is going to take a lot of hard work over the next 12 months. We are looking for quality professional financial help from someone who may want to scratch a socially responsible itch.”

The new Finance Director/CFO will step into the shoes of Dave Sabuda, CPA, who came out of retirement to helm the finances of Flint. He has worked over the past 12 months to ensure his successor steps into a smooth-running operation.

“What drew me to this spot? I wanted not only to help Flint, but I really loved the work,” Sabuda explained. “I knew if I was able to help Flint it would help the region and our entire state. If Flint is doing better, then our state is doing better. There is great satisfaction that comes from solving problems that people didn’t think they could solve.”

Sabuda and his team have resolved a number of pressing financial issues including grants and city pensions.

“Everyone came together to address the water problem,” Baird noted. “We are now at a stage where significant amounts of capital are coming into Flint to address the water problems and infrastructure issues. The city has received more than $125 million in grants, and the person taking this position will play a key role in ensuring they are properly managed.

“At all levels of government, taxpayers want to know exactly how every dollar is being spent. They want assurance that their tax dollars are being spent effectively, efficiently and honestly.”

Patience, persistence & personality
What does a successful candidate look like? Sabuda said the role needs a well-rounded financial person who is skilled and experienced in:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Purchasing
  • Capital management and cash flow
  • Treasury
  • Risk management

Pension experience is a bonus, he noted, as is experience with labor contracts and negotiations. Contract talks with several of the city’s unions are just around the corner.

“Flint has a great infrastructure of people,” Sabuda said. “We’ve got good finance staff, good accounting, treasury and purchasing staff. There’s a quality staff who will support this job and help the new director get from point A to point B in an efficient manner.”

Sabuda said the successful candidate will need soft skills, too, including: 

  •  Patience. You must have the ultimate in patience for those times when it doesn’t go right the first time, Sabuda explained.
  •  Persistence. Equally important, he noted, to get around roadblocks to see where you need to go.
  • Strength of will and resolve. It’s critical, Sabuda said, for the director to ensure that politics doesn’t get in the way of sound financial judgment.

Additionally, the candidate should be calm, able to think on his or her feet and be comfortable speaking in public and with the media. Finally, the right candidate will have a strong commitment to transparency.

“A job like this one, which requires all these capabilities, skills and competencies, would earn several times more in private industry,” Baird said. “But the best reward comes from knowing that you are helping 100,000 people who are really depending on you to do the right things on their behalf. There’s nobody quite as important as the CFO in a city that struggles.”

Click here to learn more – and then apply.        

Source: MICPA
Source: MICPA

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