Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Finance & Information Technology Department Set To Begin the New Year with A Few Changes

Change is never easy, but in the words of John F. Kennedy, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

As the City of Southlake looks to the future, the Finance and Information Technology Department figures prominently in the City’s potential success. Therefore, it’s vital that the department operates effectively and efficiently in the now while engaging in future-ready planning. Balancing those two interests requires a highly competent leadership team, people who have the experience, dedication, and skill to successfully serve the City. Under the direction of Chief Financial Officer Sharen Jackson, new leaders are ready to take on the challenge.

Kristin McGrail, who began her position as Deputy Director of Finance – Administration in May, is a 19-year City of Southlake veteran, having previously served as Manager of Southlake’s municipal court and in other positions in the organization. McGrail knows Southlake and brings great energy and enthusiasm to her new role. She leads the department in general administration, customer service, and communication. She will oversee administrative functions, including Municipal Court.

A new Deputy Director of Finance is now on board, as well. Nicole Bradshaw will lead the Finance accounting team. Her 12 years of public accounting and almost five years of internal audit experience make her an ideal fit for her new role. She has a keen eye for detail and will be critical for ensuring that the City’s finances are in order and that internal controls are up to date. She will handle all accounting, purchasing, utility billing, and compliance.

With 35 years of IT experience, Blair Halbert was a natural choice to take on the role of Director of Information Technology. He began his work for Southlake on January 17. Blair has spent the last several years with UT Southwestern Medical Center and has extensive IT experience that will be very beneficial to evolve Southlake’s technology systems and operations. He will oversee the three divisions of IT.

“The strength of our new leadership team is exciting,” said Jackson. “We are already working together to envision ways to strengthen customer service, communication, and efficiency. With these individuals working together to make it happen, I feel very optimistic about the department’s possibilities.”

The team is already working to finalize a new business plan and prepare for the annual audit. They are reviewing controls, improving the department’s website, and hosting meetings with divisions and departments to fully understand internal customers’ needs. Coming soon, the team will tackle the development of a Technology Master Plan to address internal needs as well as community infrastructure.

The City of Southlake welcomes our newest leaders in the Finance and Information Technology Department. Their responsibilities are great, but this dream team is well-suited for the challenges.