Fairfield finds new finance director in Middletown: What to know about him

Jacob Burton, city of Middletown's finance director, was hired to be the city of Fairfield's new finance director. He starts April 12. PROVIDED
Jacob Burton, city of Middletown's finance director, was hired to be the city of Fairfield's new finance director. He starts April 12. PROVIDED

Credit: City of Middletown

Credit: City of Middletown

Fairfield has two major vacancies in its executive staff, and one of those jobs has been filled.

Former city manager Mark Wendling resigned at the end of December, and former assistant city manager Dan Wendt left to become the top executive at Vandalia. At the end of January, Scott Timmer was promoted to fill the assistant city manager role, leaving the city’s finance director job vacant.

Middletown Finance Director Jacob Burton was hired this week to fill Fairfield’s finance director post, a position he’ll start on April 12. His salary will remain relatively unchanged, earning $114,000 with the city.

“He was an excellent candidate,” said Acting City Manager Don Bennett. “It will be a wonderful transition here.”

Nineteen people applied for the finance director job, and a panel of senior Fairfield staff interviewed six candidates. Burton was the panel’s top choice and was offered the job Friday after a second interview with Bennett. He accepted the offer on Monday.

The April 12 start date was at the request of Burton, Bennett said, “to finalize some ongoing projects in Middletown.”

“That speaks volumes of his professionalism that he was not going to just sever ties and leave Middletown hanging out there,” Bennett said.

Burton, a Trenton native and Monroe resident, said he has all “good things to say” about the city of Middletown and has been “very happy” in his role, but the finance director job at Fairfield was “new and different.”

“If I was going to leave Middletown, I wanted to leave for the right opportunity and a place that I felt was going to provide me with the right challenges, the right opportunities to continue to grow,” Burton said. “Middletown has a lot of great things going on right now ... but (the job in Fairfield) is new and different.”

Before Burton’s 6 1/2 years as Middletown’s finance director, he served 14 months as the city’s assistant finance director. Before that, he worked in the private sector at Macy’s, ascending from an entry-level accountant in May 2009 to a senior accountant two years later.

As Middletown finance director, he manages a $100 million budget. Fairfield has a smaller budget of $74.44 million.

Middletown City Council didn’t want to see Burton leave.

“Our loss is Fairfield’s gain,” said Vice Mayor Joe Mulligan, adding he appreciates Burton’s professionalism and the way he answered council members’ questions.

Councilmember Ami Vitori called Burton “an ideal” finance director because of his “utmost integrity.”

Staff Writer Rick McCrabb contributed to this story.

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