The City of Lindsay filled one of the most important positions, finance director. Justin Poore signed contract with the City on Jan. 25 and officially began his duties as finance director on Feb. 8.
Although Poore comes to Lindsay with a wealth of financial knowledge, this is his first time serving as a finance director. To help ease the transition the City reached out to retired Visalia finance director, Mark Harmon. Both men will work on a part time basis until Poore joins the City full time. According to interim city manager, Bill Zigler, while while Poore is the guy in charge he will be mentored by retired city finance director Mike Harmon. “He [Harmon] has expertise in municipal finance, but is not looking to make a career of it.” In addition to imparting his knowledge, Harmon will guide Poore through the budget process.
Poore received his MBA in accounting and has a background in financial planning and tax preparation. He has also taught at the university level with the University of Phoenix.
On Tuesday, Feb. 9 Poore attended his first city council meeting where he introduced himself to the council and the public stating, “I’ve made a lot of great changes since I’ve been here.”
One of those changes was speaking with Lindsay Police Department in regards to escorting staff across the street with city assets and funds. He also plans on changing treasurers reports in order to make them more reader friendly.
“I’m really enjoying it. I’m finally able to apply my book knowledge,” Poore went on to say, “Instead of dealing with one bucket of money, you’re dealing with many.”
Ultimately he hopes to make the finance department, more efficient. “I want to Provide a better support system to the people by bringing city hall into 21st century.”
Additionally, Poore feels his responsibility as finance director is, “Ensuring fiscal responsibility while keeping in mind what’s happening and where we can go from here.”
Originally from Southern California, Poore moved to the Central Valley with his wife in 2004 and has enjoyed the quieter life, “There is less traffic and less people,” laughed Poore. Although a Fresno resident, he is no stranger to Lindsay as he was the golf coach for both boys and girls, leading the girls through an undefeated season.
Poore is replacing longtime finance director Tamara Laken, who retired in January after a 26 year long career with the City of Lindsay. Laken’s key accomplishments as finance director were writing and implementing the Internal Control Policies. This was crucial to ensuring effective financial management as well providing proper accountability and fiscal responsibility. Laken also increased communication between departments and the flow of information in general.
Additionally, Laken eliminated the petty cash system entirely, recalled and canceled all VISA charge accounts with the exception of three which are tightly controlled and made financial reporting more transparent. Citizens and council members can view reports on the city’s website as reports are posted more frequently. These efforts were evident in the City’s audits and have gone a long way to restore the integrity of the Lindsay Finance Department.
With his financial expertise and enthusiasm for his new position Poore has one hope in mind, “Maybe I can impact a whole city that makes me feel like its worth my time.”