Butler County hires new finance director

Butler County has been without a top finance guru for nine months, but the commissioners approved hiring David McCormick on Monday at an annual salary of $138,502.

County Administrator Judi Boyko told the Journal-News McCormick joins the county bringing nearly 30 years of experience at the CVG Airport.

“Mr. David McCormick brings 30 plus years in the finance industry — quasi-public and private sectors, and multiple accreditations — CPA, CPFO and an MBA. He’s a proven finance leader and has demonstrated strong competencies in internal controls and risk management, continuous and quality improvements, and alignment of business systems, IT and financial,” Boyko said.

“With the wealth of experience, competencies, and business acumen, Mr. McCormick brings a ray of hope for me as I implement projects and provide data driven financial analysis to the board of commissioners both of which I’ve wanted to produce since I arrived in Butler County. . Circumstances, COVID and stability in the Finance Department are two pressing issues why I haven’t been able to meet my own expectations.”

There has been a void in the county’s top leadership team this year after former finance director Angel Burton tendered her resignation in February to work closer to her Clermont County home and former assistant county administrator Scott Timmer, former Human Resources director Laurie Murphy and former assets and purchasing director Chris Hacker all took jobs with the city of Fairfield.

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Boyko and the commissioners have said filling the finance job is the most critical and, to that end, hired a consulting firm for $15,000 in May to find a new finance director. Sheriff’s Department Finance Director Vickie Barger has also pitched in to help and they contracted with former Lakota Schools treasurer Jenni Logan for $45,000 to pitch in beginning Sept. 9 through the end of February.

Commissioner Don Dixon told the Journal-News they have had what they have needed on a day-to-day basis — although the vacancy hasn’t been ideal — but the long term projections are what McCormick brings to the table, “I feel pretty comfortable he’s going to be a big asset.”

“It wasn’t really a situation where we were at any time without having the financial data that we needed,” Dixon said “But there’s a lot of things that we do for the future and that means all the budgeting and the increases that are crazy right now, to try to keep a handle on the total cost and then plan for the future on what those costs that compound over three, five, seven and 10 years are, that’s where I’m becoming a little uncomfortable, because we’re not out that far with our projections and we need to be.”

Boyko said McCormick retired from the Kenton County Airport Board, which owns and operates the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, but wants to get back to work.

He served as vice president of financial operations from May 2010 through January 2021 and financial controller from July 1999 through April 2010. He began his career at the airport as a project accountant in 1992, according to his resume. He started out as an audit supervisor with Ernst & Young in 1986.

He could not be reached for comment about the new job.

Commissioner T.C. Rogers pointed to McCormick’s credentials as a certified public accountant, a certified public finance officer and his MBA. He said it has taken a while to find a new finance director but, “I think he has good background and good designations so I think he will be worth the wait.”

Burton gave her two-week notice on Feb. 2 after accepting the finance director job at Clermont Senior Services. Boyko hired Burton in May 2020 to replace former Finance Director Tawana Keels who left the position abruptly on Feb. 7, after seven years leading the county’s finance department.

Filling vacancies has been very difficult in the new post-pandemic normal, especially with the “Great Resignation” phenomenon. When Keels quit Boyko received 50 resumes within a matter of a couple months. In October when Hacker left Julie Tragessor — who the commissioners promoted to assistant human resources director after Murphy left —said they had received only 34 applications for the finance job and 100 for her department. She and Boyko had scheduled six interviews for the finance job.

When the three directors who left for Fairfield they all received healthy pay bumps, collectively they are making $60,820 more working for the city than they were at the county.

The commissioners addressed the apparent uncompetitive wage issue in July following a wage study update, doling out some substantial raises in an effort to right-size their salaries with their counterparts in the market and internally.

The total for all the non-union wage adjustments under the commissioners’ direct control was around $220,000. In all, 71 employees received raises based on a market update by consultant Clemans Nelson. They also raised the minimum and maximum pay ranges 2%. Burton was making $118,158 when she left and now the range is $94,328 to $139,776, so McCormick is near the top of the range.

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