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County hires new finance director

Staff Writer

After four months with the position vacant, Archuleta County has hired a new finance director.

The new hire, Larry Augsbury, is expected to begin work at the post by June 17.

The position was vacated with the resignation of Diane Sorensen that took effect on Feb. 8. Sorensen left to take the finance director position in La Plata County.

The search for a new finance director has been no easy task for Archuleta County, with the county also short a permanent county administrator at the time of Sorensen’s resignation.

A first round of finalist interviews took place in March, with an offer extended to one candidate, who then turned down the position.

Hiring of the finance director falls under the purview of the county administrator. So, in April, shortly after the hiring of Jesse Smith, a new iteration of the search for a finance director began.

In the most recent search, Smith said the county again advertised the position, as well as again listing the opening on several professional websites.

As the resumes for the position filtered in, Smith looked through them, he said.

It was one of those professional websites, Smith indicated, where Augsbury saw the opening — the site for the Government Finance Officers Association.

Five candidates were interviewed by Smith via telephone, with three moving on to a conference call interview with Smith and the Archuleta County commissioners.

Augsbury was then brought in for an interview last Friday, was offered the position that afternoon, and immediately accepted, Smith reported.

“He was by far the best,” Smith said of Augsbury’s ranking among the candidates.

According to Augsbury’s resume, he graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1993 with a bachelor’s in business administration, majoring in accounting.

Most recently, according to his resume, Augsbury taught himself website development skills while caring for his elderly father.

Prior to that, he served as director of finance for Valencia County, N.M., from May 2012 to July 2012. Before that, he served as director of finance for Eddy County, N.M., from October 2010 to May 2012.

Before Eddy County, Augsbury worked as controller for Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. in Boulder, Colo., for four years.

“My general mandate is the pursuit of excellence and fiscal responsibility,” Augsbury said.

“I left Colorado and went to New Mexico because of the challenge of turning around a county that was non-compliant,” Augsbury said. “After eighteen months, it (Eddy County) remained an unfavorable internal control environment, so I moved to another turnaround opportunity, which was very, very similar to Eddy County, and it was Valencia County. I left there for the same reason — because it was an unfavorable internal control environment.”

Augsbury added, “I felt that the direction Valencia County was going was not conducive for success in pursuit of excellence and fiscal responsibility.”

But Augsbury has more hope for a long stint with Archuleta County.

Augsbury said Archuleta County is more stable financially than Eddy and Valencia counties, but added that one of his first tasks as finance director will be to identify and prioritizes the challenges Archuleta County faces.

“I’m very much looking forward to a very positive and long-term relationship with Archuleta County as an employer, and Archuleta County as a place to live,” Augsbury said.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on June 6, 2013.