Finance director’s departure will put Oshkosh in budget bind

The Oshkosh Common Council and City Manager Mark Rohloff will dive headfirst into their 2014 budget without Finance Director Peggy Steeno after she accepted a job as Director of Administrative Services for the city of Menasha.

Steeno’s last day in Oshkosh will be Sept. 20, just as budget documents and discussions, utility rate increase applications, bond issues and the like ramp up.

The timing leaves Rohloff with few options to find a replacement before the proposed budget comes out in early October and hearings begin in mid-October. Part of the problem is every other finance director and accountant will likely be knee-deep in their own municipal budgets at the time. For that reason, Rohloff said he will pursue temporary fixes such as retired finance directors for the 2014 budget process.

“I have to prepare for a four-to-six-month vacancy,” Rohloff said Tuesday. “I’m sure (finance directors) are all working on their budgets right now, not their resumes, so we could have a very difficult time recruiting someone at this time.”

Steeno joined the city right about the time Rohloff did and helped shepherd Rohloff and councilors through some very tight budget years as shared revenue and other state aids were cut. Rohloff called Steeno “a tough act to follow.”

“Because she really worked her way up through the ranks, she still had a very workmanlike approach,” Rohloff said. “She knew the technical side very well and wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty to get things done.”

About Jeff Bollier

Jeff Bollier is an award-winning public affairs reporter for the Oshkosh Northwestern who covers everything from city hall to business. As Streetwise, Jeff delivers updates on the comings and goings of Oshkosh's retail and business world. Jeff is an avid Instagram and Twitter user and a member of the Northwestern Bacon Team.
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