Soap Lake to outsource finance/treasury duties

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SOAP LAKE — Following the sudden resignation of the city’s finance director Soap Lake has decided to move in the direction of outsourcing its finance/treasury duties.

Former Soap Lake Finance Director Karen Hand resigned from her position without notice. The city’s former finance director, Karen Dillon, returned to take the job on an interim basis to help the city temporarily as the budget season is quickly approaching.

“With much trepidation (Dillon) has stepped into what is turning out to be a fairly significant mess, mostly in terms of organization. We are not seeing any significant irregularities in the finance office, but a great deal of disorganization,” Mayor Raymond Gravelle explained during last week’s council meeting.

It just so happens that as Soap Lake city officials were discussing the upcoming budget work that the prospect of outsourcing treasury duties became a viable option. The council was recently made aware of Jeff Valentine, who does similar work for the city of Granite Falls and the Granite Falls School District.

“When we talked to Jeff he said he has extensive experience in monitoring projects, administering projects. So I think that with everything that is happening now with the city, and the plans for the next couple of years, that it would be a great benefit,” Dillon told the council.

Gravelle said outsourcing the job would actually save the city a little bit of money and if the city isn’t satisfied with Valentine’s performance they have the ability to cancel the contract. Valentine is paid $40 per hour.

“We are going to save some money. This will save us money. I don’t know how much yet. There is more research being done on how it affects our insurance level of staffing. If it falls below a certain level we save a bunch of money there, as well as the direct savings of the position,” Gravelle remarked.

The council unanimously voted to authorize Gravelle to execute a contract, contingent on approval by legal counsel, with Valentine’s company to perform finance services.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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