• Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

Clinton Finance Director Retires

The search is on for a new finance director after Sue Cunningham announced she would leave her post. Cunningham’s last day was Dec. 15.

At the Town Council meeting on Dec. 6, Town Manager Karl Kilduff said he would begin conducting interviews for the position at the end of the month.

Cunningham had been with the Town for 18 years but said she was ready for a change.

“I think everyone knows when it’s time in their life to retire. We all set personal and professional goals, and for me, those goals have been reached. Leaving the Town at this time allows me the freedom to pursue more of my personal interests while I am still able,” Cunningham said.

“Right now, I’m happy to not have too many plans or lists of things to do. I have a few travel adventures in mind and plan on allocating additional time to some of my current hobbies of being a flutist and biking, as well as work on the much-needed improvements to my golf game,” she continued.

Cunningham said she began volunteering with the Town shortly after moving to Clinton in the early 1990s. She served as a member of the Board of Finance (BOF). She then worked as an assistant treasurer and, in 2019, became the finance director.

“I will miss the routine and challenges that come with holding a professional position, as I’ve worked in various professional capacities in the finance area for over 35 years,” Cunningham said. “I’ve always enjoyed what I do and take pride in the fact that while working for the Town, my work, along with the finance department in general, provided a valued service to the Town of Clinton’s taxpayers, knowing that their tax dollars were being managed and accounting for with the highest levels of integrity and professionalism.”

Additionally, Cunningham said the job provided a good work-life balance. “Working for the Town for over 18 years offered, for me, the perfect balance between family and work that I will always be grateful for, especially while raising our daughter,” she said.

Whoever is hired to replace Cunningham will be jumping right into the heat of budget season as the Town gets to work on a proposed budget that will be presented in early March. Besides the budgets, the director will be responsible for all managing financial aspects of the Town, including financial planning, reporting, debt management, internal auditing, grant administration, and advising in collective bargaining.

Cunningham’s hire as finance director was a welcome bit of stability after what had been a two-year cycle of turnover in the finance department.

In 2017, Dawn Norton was hired on an interim basis to replace the departing Janet Murphy as finance director until a full-time candidate could be found. Norton moved to a part-time, remote role in early 2018. In the summer of 2018, the Town hired Linda Savitsky to assess the department and assist with the hiring of a full-time candidate.

It looked as though the Town had its full-time director in the fall of 2018 when Richard McArdle was selected as the new finance director by the Board of Selectmen (BOS). However, at a Sept. 12 meeting, First Selectmen Christine Goupil read into the record a letter she addressed to BOF chairman John Olsen that stated that McArdle had rescinded his acceptance of the finance director position before even beginning to work. The letter stated that an unnamed member or members of the BOF had “interfered in the hiring process of new staff. They contacted references and did not disclose those conversations with the first selectman or the BOF.”

The Town then hired Savitsky in October as an interim finance director to work for several months and assess the department further while the Town prepared to search for a new full-time director. Savitsky left her role in Clinton in early 2019 to become the deputy treasurer for the State of Connecticut. Prior to leaving, Savitsky and Norton recommended Cunningham for the role of finance director.

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