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City eyes inside hire to head finance

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Sarah Head.For the second time in as many weeks, the city of Woodburn has turned to an internal applicant to replace a management-level employee.

Earlier this month, Kristin Wierenga, former program supervisor of the Woodburn Aquatic Center, was hired as the city’s new recreation services manager to replace Stu Spence, and this past week, current city employee Sarah Head was announced as the recommendation to replace Christina Shearer at the position of finance director.

Head has served as a budget analyst for Woodburn since December 2012, a position in which she — among other things — worked closely with Shearer and City Administrator Scott Derickson in the development of the city’s annual budget. In that capacity, she helped the city achieve recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association for its budget document two years running.

“I am excited to work with Sarah and after a lengthy interview process, I am really confident we found the right person to lead our finance department,” Derickson said in a news release. “She has some big shoes to fill, but Sarah’s experience and personality, as well as her desire to learn and grow, will serve her and the city well.”

Being a department head position, the city’s interview process was more involved than for most positions, with two panels and a written test. According to city spokesman Jason Horton, five candidates were interviewed.

“We had great candidates, but Sarah stood out among them and she will do a great job,” said Council President Pete McCallum, who participated on one of the interview panels. “It was tough to see Christina go, but I think we found someone who will do an excellent job.”

The appointment of a new finance director is also subject to the approval of the City Council. Horton said the board is expected to review the matter at its next meeting on June 23.

Before being hired for the city’s finance department, Head worked in the communications industry and was the assistant controller for West Coast Bank. She had served most recently as the business operations director for the Willamette Humane Society.

In a news release, Head said she was looking forward to the challenge of the new position.

“I love working for the city and have learned a lot from our department heads, but I feel am ready for this next step,” she said. “We have great employees in the finance department and that makes this the perfect job for me.”




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