Suzanne Dean has been appointed the city's new Finance Department director following the departure of Sheila Cumberland.
Dean filled in the absence created in November when Cumberland left 15 years of city employment. Cumberland had served as finance director on and off since 1996 except for a three-year absence between 2006 and 2009.
City Manager Toby Wells said that the decision to fill the permanent position was put on hold for a number of reasons but the city risked losing Dean to another city interested in her services. In fact, she was one of two finalists out of 40 applicants for the job in the other jurisdiction.
"The risk of losing someone with her talents, skill, abilities and intimate knowledge of Ceres is far too great to wait any longer to make the decision," said Wells in a staff report to the City Council. "The recruitment process conducted by the other agency provides for the final confirmation that Suzanne is the best person for the job as director of Finance."
Wells called Dean a "highly qualified professional with diverse experience in the public sector. She possesses the technical and managerial skills necessary to provide a high level of leadership and direction to the department. Her extensive knowledge of the city of Ceres and the Finance Department uniquely positions her to continue the success of the Finance Department and is the perfect fit to the management team."
Suzanne said she didn't think Cumberland was truly going to retire last year but let the city know she was interested in filling her shoes.
"I didn't want to leave and always liked it here," said Dean.
Dean's capacity started officially on Jan. 12.
Dean starts out with a salary of $123,588 per month and could advance to $129,758 annually after six months with city manager approval. Her benefits package is the same as other city department heads.
A graduate of California State University, Stanislaus, Mrs. Dean has 12 years' of finance experience and started employment with the city of Ceres in May 2005 as finance manager. After the city laid her off in February 2009, Dean went to work as an accountant for the Calaveras County Water District in San Andreas. She returned in March 2011 as deputy finance director.