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Town finally fills finance position

Andrew Rankin
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, June 17, 2010

INUVIK - The town's quest to find a director of finance is finally complete after well over a year of searching.

Mayor Denny Rodgers confirmed Grant Hood, a certified management accountant with 25 years of experience, was hired last month. He's scheduled to start work July 19.

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Grant Hood: The town's newly-hired director of finance says he's looking to stay on long term.

Rodgers said he's happy the position is filled.

During the town's last audit in February, chartered accountant Robert Stewart said the town is falling behind on collecting debts and needs a director of finance who can keep the books balanced and bring in government funding.

Rodgers said Jerry Veltman, the town's former director of finance and senior administrative officer, had been filling the void on a part-time basis before Hood's hiring and has managed to keep the town in good financial shape.

The mayor also said there are no areas of particular concern that he'd like Hood to focus on immediately.

"It's not like he's coming to take over a disaster," said Rodgers. "Jerry's done a very good job for us. We have a good capable staff."

Rodgers said the town was also looking for someone who could contribute to the community outside of work. He added Hood fit the mould.

"You're as much worried about someone coming up getting involved in the community and fitting in and enjoying the lifestyle we enjoy in the North," said Rodgers. "There are lots of people out there who can do the work technically. More importantly, you want someone who's community-oriented."

An employment company in Calgary, which the town hired to help find a suitable candidate, got in touch with Hood initially. The father of two university students said his mind was made up to move here after a four-day visit to town in April where he met town staff and got a closer look at the community. He said he was impressed with the people and the many recreational facilities.

"I really loved the community and just the people I met," he said. "It impressed me. People seem to get along quite well together. I started talking about the position, people couldn't shut me up."

Hood's contract doesn't require him to stay in the position for a minimum amount of time. But he's hoping to stay long term, he said.

"There's nothing in stone," he said. "My hope is to spend 10 years there, to finish my career. I'm not a short-term kind of person."

Hood has previously worked for small businesses in the information technology sector. He said he doesn't anticipate too much of a transition to government processes.

"From a finance point of view, there isn't a lot of difference in keeping the books," he said.

Sara Brown, Inuvik's senior administrative officer, will resign her post July 2. Hood said he's not concerned about the vacancy.

"On the surface I think the town is being well run by the people who are there now," he said. "I'm not concerned because town council and the people in administration will figure out what to do."

Hood is also a qualified softball umpire, and will be in Venezuela umping at the Women's World Championships, from June 23 to July 2. In Inuvik, he hopes to get back into curling, from which he took a hiatus because of family demands.

He said his strongest assets are his ability to work well with people and be accountable to his employers, which in this case will be the citizens of Inuvik.

"They're paying my salary," he said. "If they have concerns and want to talk, I'm quite open to listening and dealing with their concerns."

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