Fisher begins new city job - As accounting manager
For the city of Dickinson, specialization may be the key to keeping its new accounting manager. Tina Fisher officially began her duties with the city on Sept. 5, after being hired in early July. "It's a switch to government accounting that I'm le...
For the city of Dickinson, specialization may be the key to keeping its new accounting manager.
Tina Fisher officially began her duties with the city on Sept. 5, after being hired in early July.
"It's a switch to government accounting that I'm learning," Fisher said. "It's much different. Basically, it is fund accounting, which you only have to do in government accounting."
Fisher is a Dickinson native who worked for nearly 10 years at the Teddy Roosevelt Medora Foundation as its accounting manager.
"I was actually afraid I'd miss the drive, but it's been nice not to have to drive the 30 miles every day," Fisher said.
Fisher said she decided to apply for the position because she was working in one city and living in another, so never had the opportunity to be involved in either.
When the city position became available, Fisher's brother encouraged her to apply. The city also is eager to keep her in town.
"I'm familiar with her work when she was at the Medora foundation," Dickinson Mayor Dennis Johnson said. "(Fisher) did an excellent job there. I'm expecting things to go well for her at the city."
Fisher is taking over the helm of accounting after the departure of Tim Kessel. Kessel filled three roles during his 15 months with the city, acting as director of finance, technology and human resources.
After Kessel left the city to pursue an opportunity with Fisher Industries as its information services director, the city opted to narrow the job description.
"By concentrating on accounting, we're making it a working position," city administrator Greg Sund said. "Tina will be expected to do accounting, not just as a supervisor position. There's not a lot of luxury with positions; all department heads have to be working department heads."
Johnson also said the new job description better fits the labor market.
"If you're good in (finance, technology and human resources), then you're probably very highly compensated and outside our reach," Johnson said.
The human resources department is now handled jointly by the city commission, civil service commission and the city administrator. The city contracts with the North Dakota Association of Counties for assistance with technology issues.
City Commissioner Joe Frenzel agrees that narrowing the position is a good move for Dickinson.
"Perhaps the last time around, the job was too all-encompassing," Frenzel said.
Since the job description changed prior to Fisher applying for the position, she had no say in amending it and she's fine with that.
"I know (Microsoft) Excel inside and out, but I don't know how to fix the server," Fisher said.
One part of her computer Fisher is going to be very comfortable with is the software. The city is in the process of switching to the software Fisher had been working with at the Medora foundation.
Fisher worked with the foundation when it transitioned to the new software so a switch is nothing new to her.
"The software transition has been interesting," Fisher said. "I'm learning a little about what we have. I feel like I'll be more help with the new system. Then, it's easier for other accounting personnel because I've seen it before."
Though she's not been in the position long, Fisher has produced her first monthly financial report for the Dickinson City Commission.
"It certainly appears she already has a clear understanding of the accounting and provided us an easy to understand report," city commissioner Rhonda Dukart said. "I was very pleased."
Johnson said he expects as time goes on, Fisher's reports will show subtle changes and offer more financial analysis than strict reporting.