SILER CITY — Long-time Siler City Town Clerk Jenifer Johnson has been named the town’s new budget manager, a recently-added position.
Johnson had served as the town’s clerk since November 2013, and Town Manager Hank Raper told the News + Record she’s been an asset to the town — and that the transition was a logical one.
“Jenifer has been involved in the budget process since she started working for the town,” Raper said. “She’s not really taking on any new tasks … she’s really just being recognized for what she’s already been doing.”
The budget manager position was created Jan. 3 by the board as part of a number of changes to the town’s finance department recommended by Raper. The position was reclassified from the financial analyst position, which was vacated when the financial analyst became the assistant finance director. That came after the former assistant director became the department director when Tina Stroupe left her position with the town for a post with the city of Raleigh.
Johnson will oversee the budget process through her own department, which will be separate from the town’s finance office. Raper said moving the budgeting process outside of the finance department would expedite finding additional cost-saving measures and make the process of budget adjustments easier.
“Finance is very reactive by nature — it’s designed to do accounting work in response to something that’s already happened,” Raper said. “Budget is very proactive — projecting about things that are going to happen and to anticipate happening … those are all budget practices.”
Raper explained the reclassification of the budget manager position would give him the chance to move staff into various positions and help trim personnel costs for existing jobs. He said that would create a “top administrative structure,” which will help create departments and positions to address the town’s needs.
“As the town grows, if you have the right framework, it’s so much easier to plug in additional positions where they’re needed,” Raper said. “When you don’t have the top administrative structure correctly, it becomes that much more difficult.”
The now-vacant town clerk position has been listed on the town’s employment opportunities website, and according to the position listing, the clerk will also serve as a communications specialist for the town.
Raper said communication from the town to its staff and residents needs additional focus, and adding the communications specialist role to the clerk’s duties will improve that function.
“Communication is something, that we know from our strategic plan, that we’re falling short on, and we need to do a better job communicating internally and externally within our organization,” Raper said. “Having a centralized point of contact or communications is key.”
The town clerk and communications specialist position will remain open until it’s filled, according to the job listing. Raper said he hopes to announce a replacement for Johnson by the board’s next meeting on Feb. 6.
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @HeedenTaylor.