Tuesday, January 13, 2009
DALLAS -- Cecilia Ward is already hard at work even though her office in City Hall isn't set up yet.
She packed her things at the state Department of Human Services Dec. 31 and was at her new desk in Dallas Jan. 2 as the city's finance director.
"What I missed the most was being able to work closely with other people and citizens in the city," Ward said. "You don't realize you'll miss things like that until you are away from it."
Ward, who resides in Monmouth, worked for the state as a senior fiscal analyst for about a year. When she saw the open position advertised in the Itemizer-Observer in November, she knew she had to apply because she missed the city environment.
Ward said she worked as the finance director in Mannford, Okla., for six years, proving she had plenty of experience for the Dallas position. However, her desire to work with money does not stem from her degree in international business. It stems from working with numbers in high school, she said.
City Manager Jerry Wyatt said Ward had exactly what the city was looking for out of the 12 candidates who applied for the position.
He said he was impressed by her background in customer service and municipal government, and with her ideas of employee expectations.
"She had a lot of qualities we were looking for, not only in a finance director but also in an employee," Wyatt said. "Her answers (in the interviews) were excellent."
The position in Dallas allows Ward to make more decisions and share knowledge about municipal government than her job in Oklahoma, she said.
In her spare time, Ward said she enjoys outdoor activities and indulges in CNN and the occasional Hallmark Channel movie or program. She also has a 19-year-old son.
Ward's position in Dallas makes her responsible for utility billing, overseeing incoming funds, accounts payable, payroll, budgeting, and other financial needs of the city, she said.
She said she is happy so far because so much of her job is familiar to what she has done in the past.
"I enjoy serving the public," Ward said. "This is a good way to do that -- within government."
Ward said she is looking forward to cementing strong relationships with employees and citizens. Also, she would like to build trust, respect, and manage the money well to help the city progress.