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by: , Toby LaFrance

TIGARD - After six months without a finance manager, the city of Tigard finally has a new financial and information services director.


Toby LaFrance, a 13-year resident of Tigard and former finance manager for the Clark County Community Development Department, started working for the city Monday.

'The primary thing I'm looking forward to is my ability to practice my profession of local government finance for the town I've chosen to live in,' LaFrance said.

LaFrance, 38, has worked as finance manager for Clark County for the last seven years, and prior to that worked in the Clark County central budget office for five years.

His job functions as Tigard's finance and information services director will include regulating the operations of the finance department and IT services, which in turn manage the allocation of monetary resources and services in the city.

Because Tigard hasn't had a finance director for a while, LaFrance said a comprehensive needs assessment from city staff will be his first goal.

According to City Manager Craig Prosser, in the absence of a finance director, duties had been divvied up among city staff.

'It frayed some staff nerves because there was extra work to be done,' Prosser said.

When asked if the lack of a finance director had a financial impact on the city, Prosser said it's 'basically been a little bit of a wash.' There were salary savings from having the position vacant, but the city had to bring additional assistance in to help with the implementation of a new financial system the city has been working on for the past year.

It will be LaFrance's job to take over the implementation and management of the new online system.

When asked what his impression was of the city's current financial situation, LaFrance said his examination of the city budget showed 'Tigard has adopted a balanced budget, which puts it in a strong and stable position.'

But he said he will be examining the city's general revenues to make sure they are coming in as expected.

'The primary challenges are we are in difficult economic times and need to stay on top of city revenues and make sure they are coming in as budgeted,' LaFrance said.

Currently expenses are outweighing revenues in the city's building division, resulting in the layoff of eight city employees come December.

LaFrance said it's premature to say exactly what changes, if any, he'd like to make in his new position.

'I have ideas, but maybe they've already been implemented,' he said.

'Primarily I want to make sure we are providing the best services possible we can to our internal clients, which are our city departments and council. And I want to be able to establish a positive communications environment.'

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