Borough finance director taking job in Anchorage

Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2003

After 6 1/2 years, the finance director of the Kenai Peninsula Borough is leaving for a job with the municipality of Anchorage.

Jeff Sinz will become the chief financial officer of Anchorage in the administration of Mayor-elect Mark Begich, who announced Sinz's hiring at a news conference Monday.

Hired in 1997 by former borough Mayor Mike Navarre, Sinz continued at the job under Mayor Dale Bagley. He spoke with the Peninsula Clarion just before leaving on a vacation.

"I have really enjoyed working at the borough," he said. "It is an interesting and challenging place to work. The staff I have and the people I work with are really excellent."

He said the borough is in a period of change and growth.

"In many ways, I hate to leave, but this is a great professional opportunity," he said.

For Sinz, 49, the move is a return to Anchorage, where he worked for 13 years. He was hired in 1981 as a budget analyst for the city. Later he worked for five years as finance manager for the city's solid waste service, and for three more as director of finance for the Anchorage Telephone Utility.

He left to work for the Alaska Railroad for two years as an engineering cost supervisor, before going back to Anchorage as an accounting officer, a job he held until hired as the director of finance for the Kenai Peninsula Borough in 1997.

Sinz said he was offered the position Friday and accepted the next day. He said he called Bagley and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly President Pete Sprague to inform them. Sinz said he had told Bagley late last year when Bagley was re-elected mayor that he might leave before the mayor's new term was over.

Sinz said he has enjoyed working for the two mayors he has served.

"Mike originally hired me and made my transition to the peninsula easy and enjoyable," he said. "I wasn't sure what to expect when Dale was elected, but Dale was very gracious to me and turned out to be a great guy to work for. Both were terrific bosses and I will miss them."

Sprague said he thought it was a great career move for Sinz, but a real loss for the borough.

"He is an incredible asset," Sprague said. "His knowledge of finances, his ability to handle complex issues and explain them so we can understand has helped me and other members of the borough assembly a lot. He's brilliant. I hate to see him go."

"We will definitely mess Jeff," Bagley said Monday. "But this is a heck of an opportunity for him. I wish him luck with it."

Bagley said he would be looking at a couple of individuals as possible replacements before advertising the position.

Sinz delayed his departure until Aug. 1. Several important financial issues currently in the works would need his attention to ensure a smooth transition, he said, including bond measures for Central Peninsula General Hos-pital, South Peninsula Hospital, and Seward Middle School, as well as other borough investments.

Along with Sinz's hiring, Begich also announced he was appointing Denis LeBlanc, the municipality's current director of the Office of Management and Budget, as municipal manager, and David Ramseur, former senior staff adviser to Gov. Tony Knowles, as his chief of staff.

"With Anchorage facing sizeable budget holes in the remaining six months of this year (Anchorage has a calendar fiscal year) and an even larger gap next year, the city needs top executives experienced in running efficient governments so we can deliver essential services effectively," Begich said.

"That's why I'm honored these experienced and proven executives have joined my leadership team."

Begich said Sinz would oversee the municipality's finances in a newly created position meant to coordinate the city's financial planning, revenue management, expenditure control and property management.

Sinz will oversee the city's Office of Management and Bud-get, treasury, controller and purchasing, Begich said.

Elected earlier this year, Begich takes office July 1. Other appointments are expected soon, according to a Begich transition team press release.

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