WEST NEWBURY — Selectmen are hoping a woman with 30 years’ experience handling finances for both town and school district departments is the right person to take over the helm of the Finance Department.
After a multi-hour interview process with three finalists on Tuesday, the board unanimously agreed to enter into contract negotiations with Linda Casey of Atkinson, N.H., to fill the soon-to-be-vacant finance director’s position.
Finance director Warren Sproul is retiring but has agreed to help transition Casey into the position during the month of July.
Casey has worked for eight years as CFO and business administrator for the school district in Rochester, N.H., where she manages a $60 million budget and leads a five-person staff. She also worked for 18 months as finance director in North Andover and for 10 years for the town of Salem, N.H.
During her interview Casey, described herself as a “hands-on” manager whose “door is always open.”
“If my staff has a problem, I know what that problem is and what to do to help them with it,” she said.
Casey viewed the position as a lateral move, career-wise, but felt that the job in West Newbury offered opportunities for her to grow in the areas of assessments and investing. At $14 million, West Newbury’s budget is considerably smaller than what she has been managing, but that only means she will be able to “dig deeper” into it, she said.
Casey identified transparency as a key requirement when working in municipal government and said that the Rochester School District is unique in that it posts its check register online for the public to review.
The fact that Casey has worked for many years in New Hampshire and did not have much recent experience with Massachusetts General Laws was a concern that selectmen only considered after their interview with her was finished. Ultimately, however, they concluded that she would simply have to get up to speed quickly — and felt that her year and a half working in North Andover was an indication that she was capable of doing it.