As the effects of the cold, dark season add up on the Soldotna finance director with each passing year, she has opted to retire and head south.
“I just want to be Farmer Jones. I want to grow tomatoes,” said Marti Wilkinson, who retires Friday after serving the city for nearly 19 years.
Wilkinson began working as an accountant for the city in May 1988, having moved to Soldotna from Anchorage where she lived for one year.
In February 2002, when the city’s finance director became ill, Wilkinson stepped up as acting finance director and was named to the position permanently in 2003.
“I’m so proud of this department,” she said at a recent city council meeting.
“Four years ago the auditors did the whole report,” she said of the state required Comprehensive Annual Financial Report of the city. “This year the entire report was done by the Finance Department.”
In addition to enjoying working with people in her City Hall department, Wilkinson said she most enjoyed being involved in projects that called on her to come up with budgetary solutions.
“I didn’t have that as an accountant,” she said. “This is the best job I have ever had in my life.”
When asked about other accomplishments she achieved as finance director, Wilkinson said she has praise for the city’s computer software providers who assisted her with converting to an entirely new financial software system between April and May 2004.
On some days, she said the providers stayed with her department until midnight to ensure a seamless transition to the new program.
Once she sells her house here, Wilkinson said she plans to relocate to Idaho to be near her brother and sister. Her 6-year-old Rottweiler, B.J., and a new Pembroke puppy will be going with her.
City Manager Tom Boedeker said the city has finished the second round of interviews with four finalists for the finance director post, and he hopes to have made a decision by week’s end. He said he would like to have someone in place by the end of January.
About 15 people applied for the position, he said. Two-thirds of the applicants were from within Alaska and one-third were from Outside.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek @peninsulaclarion.com.
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