Preston — The current town and school finance director in East Haddam has been named to the similar position in Preston, First Selectwoman Sandra Allyn-Gauthier announced Tuesday.
Cindy Varricchio will begin Jan. 31 as Preston’s finance director and school business manager. The joint school-town position has an annual salary of about $125,000.
Varricchio has over 10 years of experience as the director of finance and school business operations in East Haddam. In the shared role, she has been responsible for administering both the town and school district’s funds, accounts payable and receivable, accounting controls, cash management, payroll, grants, purchasing, budget, capital planning, bond funding, audit and a variety of other projects and responsibilities, Allyn-Gauthier said in a news release announcing Varricchio’s appointment in Preston.
Varricchio said Tuesday she initially was attracted to the Preston position because she was seeking a change after 10 years in East Haddam, which has a population of 9,000, about twice the size of Preston. A resident of Portland, she said she spends much of her summers in southeastern Connecticut and is familiar with the area.
During the interview process, she became impressed with town leadership and board and commission members.
“It’s a very nice, warm and welcoming community, and it felt like a place I wanted to belong to,” Varricchio said.
Varricchio has a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in business administration. She holds her state certification as a school business official and is a member of the Government Finance Officers of Connecticut, the Connecticut Association of School Business Officials and a graduate of Connecticut Council of Municipalities’ Certified Connecticut Municipal Officer program.
She was a former elected member of the Portland Board of Selectmen and Board of Education and a former appointed member of the Portland Economic Development Commission and High School Building Committee.
Allyn-Gauthier said the search process was both prudent and diligent, with multiple interviews by town staff members and members of boards and commissions. She said Varricchio was strongly recommended by interview panelists.
Allyn-Gauthier said Tuesday that Varricchio’s combined experience as a municipal financial expert and an elected official for both town government and education “will give her all kinds of varying perspectives” on the position.
“We’re really pleased,” Preston Superintendent Roy Seitsinger said Tuesday. “She brings a lot of talent and experience, and I believe she will solidify the partnership with the town and school district.”
Seitsinger said it is “very helpful” that Varricchio will arrive in Preston at the start of the 2022-23 budget season.
Varricchio succeeds former Preston finance director John Spang, who left in September for a similar position in Danbury.
Allyn-Gauthier cited the lack of a permanent finance director and the transition from retired longtime elected Treasurer Susan Nylen to newly appointed Treasurer Erin Gizio in November for the town’s failure to meet the state Dec. 31 deadline to file the annual town audit of the 2021 fiscal year. The town has secured an extension to Jan. 31 from the state Office of Policy and Management, and likely will apply for a second extension, Allyn-Gauthier said.