The City of Clinton has hired a new finance director, bringing Harry Staven aboard to fill the position, city officials announced Tuesday.
“I’m very happy for the opportunity here,” Staven said Tuesday. “It’s very nice to come to a community that feels like home. The community has been very welcoming.”
Staven has Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting, Business Administration and Economics from Central Washington University in Lynnwood, Wash. He also holds a Master of Public Administration from Seattle University.
For 17 years, Staven operated the United States import-export division of his father’s forestry and survey tools and equipment company. In the early 1990s, he transitioned into the public sector and spent most of that decade working for tribal governments. Staven has worked for several local governments in various interim and contract positions over the past 12 years, to include positions of administrator, town manager, clerk, treasurer/finance director and economic development coordinator in small towns from Ohio to Alaska.
Staven is married to wife Lissa, who works with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. They have a daughter Sara, a high school senior who will soon be deciding on a college. With family on the East Coast and their daughter looking at colleges in the Midwest and along the Atlantic seaboard, it was a “logical” move, Staven said.
The new finance director said he and his family have already found a home just outside of Clinton and, already on the job, he is looking forward to involving himself in the community, notably the arts scene.
Staven will be introduced to City Council and the rest of the public during its meeting tonight. He was hired at a starting salary of $60,757.
As part of his professional development, Staven is a member of the International City/County Managers Association, American Planning Association, Governmental Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and the International Institute of Municipal Clerks.
City manager Shawn Purvis said Staven will definitely add to the city’s quality staff.
“We were impressed with Mr. Staven’s credentials and range of experiences. After our interview and assessment, we felt he would offer our team and community a wealth of knowledge that could continue to help us improve,” Purvis stated Tuesday. “He is committed to ensuring the city’s sound financial standing through integrity and transparency.”
The city has received the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting for four straight years in the form of the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its budget, with special recognition for its Capital Improvement Plan for two years running. Late last year, as the city searched for its next finance director, Purvis alluded to the challenges it would face in keeping that bar high.
“We expect to continue preparing our budget in the same manner, if not better,” he said at the time. “We will produce a budget document of which City Council and our citizens can be proud. We will do what is necessary.”
Reorganization over the past few years saw the merging of the assistant manager and finance director positions based on existing personnel and the needs of the city. Purvis, who served as assistant manager for all four GFOA budgeting awards, stepped into that dual role in 2011 and served as assistant manager/finance director for the past two budget cycles before being promoted to city manager last year, subsequently beginning the search for a finance director.
In Staven, Purvis said the city found a good fit.
“That’s one of the reasons we were comfortable bringing Harry in,” said Purvis. “He just has a lot of experience in the city and county budgeting process and a very strong record on the budget side. The hope is to extend that into the financial reporting side.”
With a good foundation already present, Staven said the goal was to build on past success.
“I’m stepping into a good situation here,” Staven remarked. “We certainly want to try to maintain that and make incremental improvements. I have a great staff to work with and the community is fantastic.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.