City of Yelm in Search of New Finance Director

By Andrew Kollar dkollar@yelmonline.com
Posted 8/3/17

Yelm’s Finance Director Noah Crocker resigned last week to take another position in Port Orchard.

Crocker was hired by former Mayor Ron Harding and held his current position for the previous two …

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City of Yelm in Search of New Finance Director

Posted

Yelm’s Finance Director Noah Crocker resigned last week to take another position in Port Orchard.

Crocker was hired by former Mayor Ron Harding and held his current position for the previous two years. When he arrived in Yelm two years ago, Crocker was “drinking out of a fire hose” and had to fix many problems made on previous budgets, said City Administrator Michael Grayum.

Within those two years Crocker was exposed to a change in leadership at mayor and at the city administrator levels. He managed to lay a foundation in place for the next finance director to improve upon, Grayum said.

Following the departure of Crocker, Grayum will serve as the interim manager of the Financial Department.

“The good news is, I don’t feel like the position will be vacant for very long and we have a very highly capable and dedicated team that will continue holding down the fort,” Grayum said.

As Crocker departs, the city asked him to complete the city staff salary and benefit projections for 2018, which is the “baseline of our budget.” The second project the city asked him to complete is the second quarter budget adjustments. Grayum said it is critical for Crocker to finish the two projects he started. In Layman’s terms, Crocker will close out the second quarter financial statements before he leaves.



The finance director’s job is to maintain the city’s financial data, manage the financial team, serve customers internally and externally, and manage a clear and accurate budget. The director is also expected to follow generally accepted accounting principles proposed by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.

Crocker’s last day is Aug. 11. As the city looks to hire a new finance director, Grayum is adamant about finding the right person for the job. Grayum has met with each member of the finance team to discuss what they are doing well and what they could be doing better. After the individual meetings, the team had their first group meeting to gain an understanding of what they are looking for in a new director.

In the meeting, the finance team found issues regarding readability and transparency within the current budget and discussed the plan to ensure the areas of weakness are improved.

The Finance Department has created a priority list that includes correcting the issues identified by the State Auditor’s Office in previous years. The audit called for a review in the fiscal years 2012 to 2015 for having errors and weaknesses in internal controls from past management practices. The audit revealed the need for established formal policies and procedures and for the budget to be consistent with the accounting and reporting systems manual.

Along with fixing issues brought forward by the audit, the city wants to establish a more transparent budget for city government and citizens alike. The budget will contain a five-year forecast going forward to ensure it is sustainable in the future.

“The only reason we are able to implement this plan is because of Noah’s work,” Grayum said.

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