City of Lindsay looks to hire new finance director after Bret Harmon leaves on March 1
By Paul Myers
LINDSAY– The chief architect of Lindsay’s 1 percent sales tax increase passed last June, and their debt repayment plan will soon be moving on from Lindsay City Hall. Now the City will have to find someone to fill his seat before the end of the month.
“Yes, I am leaving the City…I was offered a position elsewhere I did not want to pass up,” Harmon said.
Starting in March, Harmon will be the chief financial officer (CFO) of the Tulare County Superior Court. Lindsay city manager Bill Zigler said as much as he would have liked to keep Harmon on staff for as long as possible the City will have to build on his work.
In the mean time Zigler said they are opening the position and hope local outreach is met quickly He recognizes their level of pay, between $68,232 and $91,440, is not likely going to attract finance directors from other cities. Therefore Zigler hopes to bring someone in with a strong background in accounting and then build on their skill set through trainings and seminars.
Zigler points out as well the work Harmon has done in his one short year with Lindsay. Coming in Harmon brought the City a wealth of municipal finance experience from his time working with MuniServices.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with city managers, finance directors and operations managers across [California], working on a number of different projects,” Harmon said about his experience working with MuniServices last January.
And in 2017 Harmon managed to trouble shoot many of Lindsay’s financial troubles which forced them to struggle year after year. Zigler said Harmon’s work will make it so when a new finance director walks into the position they will be able to build on the City’s progress. Most of his experience from MuniServices came as an analyst doing sales tax forecasting for what became over 120 different jurisdictions with very different economies and sizes. The experience in sales tax came in handy shortly after arriving in Lindsay.
While working on the one percent sales tax Harmon had the benefit of working with former Visalia finance director Eric Frost to figure out how to raise the City’s sales tax while also working to pay off the City’s debt and restructure services. All of which helped the City meet a balanced budget, jettison McDermont as its own private company and then purchase the public safety department’s newest fire truck set to be received next year.
“Bret has been a tremendous asset for us in just the one year he has been here…and we wish him well and his family well,” Zigler added.