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Hiring interim financial manager good move for PA

The Port Arthur City Council moved forward on City Manager Brian McDougal’s recommendation to hire an interim finance director in the wake of the sudden resignation of former Finance Director Deborah Echols on the eve of preparing the city’s budget for the fiscal year that begins in October. There was some discussion of why no one local was in the running for the position but in the end the council did the right thing and hired the best qualified person available for the critical position.

Jerry W. Dale, a retired finance director from McAllen now living in Houston, was hired for an annual salary of $148,571 plus hotel accommodations and mileage reimbursement. One-fourth of the salary goes to the search firm that located and recruited Dale. Council limited the temporary position to six months unless an extension is granted. While the cost is high for the seasoned finance director, if he can help McDougal meet the many challenges that will be faced in preparing a balanced budget for the city, he will be worth the price.

Getting Dale in place was interim finance director now allows the city manager time to conduct a thorough search for a permanent finance director. We encourage him to look locally and nationally for the person with the best qualifications who can provide the taxpayers of Port Arthur top-quality financial leadership for the city. That’s the best way in the long-run to restore taxpayers’ faith in the financial management of the city.