MADEIRA BEACH — After almost exactly a year without a finance director, the city commission has hired Vincent Tenaglia to fill the position. He starts Monday.
City Manager Shane Crawford said he likes Tenaglia's "energy and obvious strong work ethic" and plans to put him to work bringing the city's financial records and accounting up to date.
The city's books were recently reconciled for the year, but budget transfers to balance the various accounts must still be done. Meanwhile, planning for the new budget is about to begin.
"We are going to dig ourselves out of this hole quickly," Crawford promised commissioners Tuesday when they unanimously voted to hire Tenaglia.
Crawford said he hopes to have a preliminary budget prepared for the commission by July or early August.
"So you know where we are at, and you are not scared?" Commissioner Robin Vander Velde asked Tenaglia, to general laughter. Mayor Travis Palladeno's final question to Crawford was whether Tenaglia was "your kind of people."
"Mr. Tenaglia has significant budget and management experience with the city of Largo," said Crawford, stressing that Tenaglia's references "checked out exceptionally."
Tenaglia will be paid $66,000 annually and must serve at least six months' probation before becoming permanent.
Most recently, Tenaglia, 28, was a senior budget analyst for Hillsborough County, where he worked on the county's consolidation initiative, including the establishment of a centralized financial office.
Previously, he worked for Largo for two years as a management analyst supervising a team responsible for payroll, accounts payable and fleet maintenance. Tenaglia developed a plan to merge Largo's police and fire department procurement processes, as well as a shared equipment resource plan.
He also introduced a new approach to infrastructure budgeting, reducing the city's operating budget by $3 million, and automated the city's human resources' benefit payments process.
Tenaglia earned his bachelor's degree in public administration with a specialization in economics from Miami University in Ohio and has a master's degree in public administration, loan and urban management from Cleveland State University (Ohio).
Just a year ago, Monica Mitchell, the city's award-winning finance director for more than seven years, resigned to accept the post of assistant finance director position in Clearwater at slightly less pay.
She said part of her reason to leave were the "changes" at Madeira Beach city hall.
Her resignation followed the departures of City Clerk Denise Schlegel, City Manager W.D. Higginbotham Jr. and Community Development Director Paula Cohen.
The city subsequently also lost its fire chief, public works director and human resources manager.
Many of these departures were prompted by or directly resulted from changes to the commission in the March 2011 election.
That new commission hired Crawford as city manager in January. Since then, he has been working to reconstitute the city's administration.
Last month, he hired Derryl O'Neal as the city's fire chief.
The next post Crawford plans to fill is the city's planning director. He told the commission Tuesday that few qualified candidates have come forward yet.