Overshadowed by the conditional hiring of a city councilmember as a city department head was a far more normal promotion of a long-time city employee to department head.
Interim Director of the Financial and Administrative Services Department Marlene Druga was promoted to director of the Financial and Administrative Services Department last week. Druga is replacing former finance Director Rick Lusk who retired after 35 years with the city in March – not only without any fanfare but without the city even issuing the usual press release. So the fact that Druga would be named director without any fanfare seems par for the course for the Financial and Administrative Services Department.
Druga has been with the city since 1994 and was financial reporting manager and deputy finance director before being named interim director.
Assistant City Manager Larry Davis, who announced the promotion, said in a press release, “Our Finance Department has been the pillar of stability for decades and we’re thrilled to have Marlene move into the director position. Marlene has been integral to the department’s success. She provides continuity and excellent leadership as we move forward.”
The City Council is more familiar with Druga than some deputy directors because Druga often made presentations and reports on behalf of the finance department to the City Council. It was also a poorly kept secret that the City Council preferred to have Druga give those reports because Lusk often spoke in financial terms that some members of the City Council had difficulty understanding.
Druga’s presentations were much more user friendly to those not involved in borrowing and investing millions of dollars as a matter of course.
It is also worth noting that Druga has some big shoes to fill. Every year during Lusk’s tenure as finance director, the city received an “unqualified audit opinion” on the city’s annual financial statements, which for those not in the financial services business means the city received an A+.