Daniel Rivera

Old mill town seeks someone special (as CFO)

By Daniel Rivera
July 28, 2011

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

Text size +

ARE YOU looking for an adventure? Because I am an urban community north of Boston, and I am looking for that special someone to give my heart/finances to.

Do you like to spend long hours pouring over spreadsheets? Do you like long walks from department to department ensuring that financial officers are doing their work? Are you a person who sees opportunity in every situation? I am seeking a chief financial officer equally comfortable at an adding machine and presenting to community groups and government officials. You must know how to handle CBAs and CPAs. You can’t be afraid of commitment or the press. Having been around the block - the right blocks - a few times is a plus. I’ve had my share of troubles myself.

My name is Lawrence. And like a lot of other mid-sized mill cities in Massachusetts, I’ve got great possibilities. I need the right kind of person to help me reach them. Sadly, too many people write me off just as soon as they Google me.

But you should know this: I am a stout community of 76,000 made up of hard-working residents of all cultural backgrounds. I have a uniquely rich history. I’ll soon be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the famous Bread and Roses labor strike. Some of my famous residents have included Robert Frost, Leonard Bernstein, former Miss America Susie Castillo, and the heavy-metal band Godsmack’s frontman, Sully Erna. I have a bustling business community that features great small, medium, and large companies and nonprofit organizations.

You have probably read about my recent issues with money. I borrowed $24 million to fix a multiyear deficit. I will say this on my behalf: I was in a bad relationship with my former CFO and mayor. To be truthful, my current mayor - well, let’s just say he has made it hard for me to shine.

In my defense, I am very reliant on state aid, and - well, the state of that aid is not all it once was; it’s down $11 million since fiscal 2009. (Most communities like me are in the same situation.)

Despite these challenges, I have been working hard to better myself - two years of balanced budgets and a responsible stream of revenue collection. I have stayed away from those awful, budget-busting one-time-revenue fixes and those high-sugar, low-protein budget-balancing tricks. A neat side note about me: While so many other communities have fought with Beacon Hill to get control of their health care costs, I can proudly say my workers and retirees have already moved to the state Group Insurance Commission plan. We saved a ton of money. Everyone should try it!

Anyway. . .

I do have a “rough” political landscape, but if I’m your type of work (public finance management) you will find my political climate no different than other communities my size. Also, don’t forget we would have political chaperones: the governor, the secretary of administration and finance, the state Legislature, and our very own state overseer. They are all watching to make sure no one mistreats me - and that I don’t mistreat you. Plus, I have a professional city council that is working very hard for me.

What I am saying is, I’m just a city standing in front of candidates asking them to love/work for me. This opportunity is just like what they say about New York City, with a little twist: “If you can fix it here, you can fix it anywhere.”

Call me.

Daniel Rivera chairs the Lawrence City Council’s Budget and Finance Subcommittee. The city is accepting applications for chief financial officer.