Reception held for new county financial director

By Megan R. Harrell

STAR STAFF
mharrell@starhq.com

    
Jason Cody began his first day as Carter County's finance director by attending a reception given on his behalf. County officials gathered Monday morning in the executive conference room at the Carter County Courthouse to meet and welcome the county's first financial director.
     "The county executive wears a lot of different hats, and any help that he can get in financial matters will definitely be appreciated," Fair said. "Still, ultimately the responsibility of the finances falls in the executive's office, but as far as working day to day with the payroll, purchasing and invoices, it will make it so the county executive can do other things like meet with prospects interested in coming to Carter County."
     In the past, the county executive performed all of the duties of a financial director. However, in April, county commissioners voted that the positions of county executive and finance director be separated. Cody was selected by the Carter County Financial Management Committee in August in the commission's attempt to make county government run more effectively.
     Some members of the community questioned the county's need for a financial director when retired County Executive, Truman Clark was solely in charge of the county's finances for 20 years. At Cody's reception, County Executive, Dale Fair explained why the position of finance director is needed in Carter County.
     Fair explained that having another individual overseeing county finances allows time for him to attend to other matters in the county. He noted the county executive is the chief representative of the county and is active on a number of different boards. Fair also assists in the recruitment of industry.
     As county finance director, Cody will be responsible for leading a Financial Management Board. He and the board will oversee all county accounting, purchasing, payroll, and budgeting.
     Fair voiced his confidence in Cody's ability to perform the tasks associated with position of finance director. "Mr. Cody comes with a lot of experience. He is a CPA and has a master's degree in accounting, so we are excited about having someone with that kind of experience and education on our staff," Fair said.
     Cody has already reviewed some of Carter County's finances. Even though it is still too early for him to make a thorough assessment, he said he has an idea of how he would like to approach his new job. "I look forward to trying to continue a conservative fiscal management style of approach, and from the information that I have looked at we have had great leaders in the past. I want to continue that same financial management," Cody said. "We will try to improve where we see opportunities to make improvements."