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JoEllen Brophy selected as ‘best-qualified’ candidate for city CFO position

Interim Finance director will assume newly created position in two weeks

JoEllen Brophy has been named the “best-qualified” candidate to head the city of Albany’s newly created chief financial officer position. Brophy has served as interim Finance director since Nov. 1, 2013. (Herald file photo)

JoEllen Brophy has been named the “best-qualified” candidate to head the city of Albany’s newly created chief financial officer position. Brophy has served as interim Finance director since Nov. 1, 2013. (Herald file photo)

ALBANY — In two weeks, city of Albany interim Finance director JoEllen Brophy can officially drop the word “interim” from her job title. As a matter of fact, she can also do away with the “Finance director” title altogether.

After serving as interim head of the city’s Finance department since Kris Newton’s retirement on Oct. 31, 2013, Brophy was named by City Manager James Taylor Friday as the “best-qualified” candidate for the city’s newly created chief financial officer position.

“We wanted to look in-house first; if we’d taken this out on the streets it would have taken us six months or so to fill the position,” Taylor said Monday afternoon. “We knew after completing the interviews neither Jo nor anyone else we talked with had all the tools needed to do this job, but neither would someone coming from outside. Honestly, we don’t even know what this beast looks like yet.

“Jo knows, and everyone in our financial departments here and across the street (at the Water, Gas & Light Commission) knows this is going to take a total team effort. We know we can’t do anything that will negatively impact the utility, so we all are going to have to work together while we figure this out. Jo is an excellent accountant, but this position will be more about management than accounting. Fortunately, everyone who applied for the CFO position — to a person — has told me they will support whoever was chosen. This is going to be a big, big, big, big challenge, but (interim WG&L GM) Tom (Berry) and I agree that this is the best thing to do.”

As CFO, Brophy will oversee, manage, administer and direct all aspects of corporate financial operations in which the city government is involved, and all city, Water, Gas & Light Commission, sanitary sewer, stormwater and other business enterprises as well. The city CFO is charged with providing accurate financial information to ensure that financial/budgetary decisions are based on fact and providing accurate forecasting of future financial conditions to advise the city manager.

“Restructuring an organization is not something one person can do, and it’s not something that can be done overnight,” Brophy said Monday. “It’s going to take a lot of reviewing, a lot of planning and a lot of evaluation. But we have extremely capable teams on both sides of the street, and any success we have will be through a complete team effort.

“This is a big undertaking; it’s a completely different position than the one that has existed up to now. We’re all going to have to put in a little extra elbow grease and give some blood, sweat and tears to get this done. But it’s a very exciting time to be a part of the city, to be moving in the direction that we’re moving in. The position has changed, but the end game is the same: to provide the decision makers with timely and accurate information as efficiently as possible.”

Brophy, who earned an accounting degree at Liberty University of Lynchburg, Va., came from the private sector to work with the city’s Finance department in 2010. She had also served in the United States Air Force for six years.

In compliance with Georgia’s Open Records laws, Taylor gave public notice of Brophy’s designation as best-qualified candidate. She will be eligible to assume the position after at least 14 days have passed.