GUSTINE - A new finance manager is on board at Gustine City Hall.
Jas Birring recently assumed those duties, coming to Gustine after working as a senior financial analyst in the budget office at UC Merced for nearly three years.
She has a total of 16 years experience in the field, with stints at a private CPA firm, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the state.
“I wanted to do IT (information technology) when I started college, but at the time it was the IT crash. I chose accounting, and just love it,” said Birring.
She said her interest in the Gustine position was piqued by the opportunity to better use her entire skill set. At UC Merced, Birring’s focus was on budgeting.
“I miss accounting. I feel like this job will give me both (accounting and budgeting), which I prefer,” she commented. “That is where I came from. It was the right time to make a move to utilize my skills.
While she has experience in the private sector and with state and federal governments, Birring is new to municipal finance.
“It is different, but I am looking forward to it,” Birring said.
She succeeds Finance Director Lakhwinder Deol, who was with Gustine for about one year in the top finance position. City Manager Doug Dunford said Deol left Gustine to accept a position as finance director in Suisun City.
Dunford said that Birring will formally be finance manager initially, but as she settles in and becomes well-versed with municipal finances will be promoted to finance director.
He said Birring stood out among prospective candidates for the position.
“She has the ability and qualifications needed to take us to the next level and move the city forward,” Dunford told Mattos Newspapers.
The importance of the finance department to local government cannot be overstated, he added.
An accurate snapshot of the city’s revenues and expenditures, and a detailed budget, are crucial for city staff and the council to make informed decisions, Dunford pointed out by way of example.
In addition, virtually every project in which the city has a hand goes through the finance department, complex reporting requirements must be met and an outside auditor comes in annually to provide oversight.
“No one really understands how much work goes into that position through the year. You have to have people in there who are qualified,” said Dunford. “The finance position is kind of the unsung hero within the city.”