November 29, 2022

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Q&A with a newsmaker: Ramona Sheppard, the town’s new Finance Director, is getting to know Milton | News

On March 21, Milton’s new Finance Director Ramona Sheppard was warmly introduced to the selectboard.

Now with two weeks on the job under her belt, Sheppard is getting to know her staff and the town of Milton, digging through files and asking lots of questions.

On March 23, Sheppard spoke with the Independent about her history and her job:

Q: Could you tell me a little bit about your history and how you ended up in finance?

I started out in college. I’m from California originally and I got an accounting degree and got an Associate’s in accounting and then got bored with finance.

I then got my bachelor’s in liberal studies, but finance does always seem to be interesting and fun.

I love budgeting and forecasting, so I just kind of got in there and stayed there.

Q:What was the job that you had before this one in Milton?

I was the Chief Financial Officer for Vermont Public Radio.

Q: But you have experience in municipal governments before.

Yes, before Vermont Public Radio I was the finance director and HR manager for the town of

Underhill for eight years.

Q: And what went into your decision to apply to this Milton job?

I really wanted to get back into government.

There was a big merger between Vermont Public Radio and Vermont Public Television so I worked on that, very heavy work for a year or so getting ready for that merger and then I just thought this was the time to go ahead and make the change.

I love working in municipal government in Vermont.

So I really missed Underhill. I was kind of looking around for either a nonprofit whose mission I could identify with or another municipality and this just happened to come up at the right time.

I took a few months off to rest and relax and then I saw this ad and said ‘Wow, that’s me.’

Q: What’s the difference between the two, municipal government and a place like VPR?

In municipal government you really can do a lot more service and general service with the public.

I love meeting the town residents.

The budgets are so much more varied, you have so many different departments. There’s everything that a large municipality has to do, a small municipality has to do and you usually don’t have a large enough staff.

So the variety is there and you’re still giving a service.

In VPR, of course it’s primarily a news organization. It can get kind of depressing because the news has not been very good for the past few years.

I think it’s just that there’s much much much more variety.

Q: How have you been putting in an effort to get to know Milton and how have your first two weeks been?

First of all, what I’ve been doing is getting to know the staff.

I’ve been meeting with the different directors. and with department heads and getting to know my staff.

Just asking a lot of questions, meeting the people up in the clerk’s office and the Treasurer.

I am looking forward to when things settle a little bit, I’m hoping someone will take me for a tour of the town, maybe someday in Public Works.

But luckily the two people that I work most directly with here in finance are both from Milton. They’ve been letting me know about certain good things.

Really, I’ve just been looking at lots and lots of files, trying to find things on the computer.

Very nicely, Jessica left a long list of all her daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual recurring items. So I’ve been researching, looking at last year’s budgets, and asking lots of questions because every municipality is the same but they’re also different.

Q: Where do you live now?

I live in Essex and isn’t that funny? Jessica went to Essex, but yeah I live in Essex, with my husband and two rescue dogs. I’ve been in Vermont since 1995.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not working?

Well, I love to read, I read a lot. I like mystery but I also like history books. And I like going for walks with the dogs and things like that.

I am a movie buff. I love movies.

I’m not an outdoors person and I’m a political junkie, I hate to admit it.

Probably reading and playing with the dogs is the biggest thing.

Q: Do you have a favorite book and movie?

I have a favorite movie, it’s called Brazil. Favorite book, I don’t know that I actually have a favorite book. I think my favorite author is Elizabeth George.