By MELINDA WILLIAMS
For almost 16 years, Sherry Boyd has held the reins of the town of Pulaski’s Finance Department, but come June she’s ready to hand them over to someone else.
Boyd said she has known for a couple of years that she wanted to retire this year, but it wasn’t until about the past six months that it became definite in her mind.
“I’ve enjoyed working here,” Boyd said of her time as finance director. “I enjoy accounting. It’s like working a jigsaw puzzle, making sure everything fits together and that the end result is the picture it should be.”
She added, “I’ve made some good friends. I’ll miss my staff and fellow department heads and the town manager (John Hawley). We’ve (department heads) all been together now for almost 11 years and that says something about (Hawley’s) management skills.”
Boyd took over as finance director in August 1997 when former director Wade Bartlett moved to another area. She had been finance director in Fishkill, N.Y. before relocating to Virginia.
During her time as finance director, Boyd has worked under the leadership of three town managers and four mayors. Some of the biggest changes she has seen since taking the job are in the area of technology, where there have been various upgrades to the department’s software and hardware to improve the staff’s ability to handle the required workload.
She said the financial programs are more user friendly now and “they’re providing us with information that, previously, would have required a lot more manual work. The programmers who are writing the software are getting a lot more feedback from the users to see what we need to do our job.”
But the job can be rather stressful, as well. Constant changes in regulations and accounting requirements make the job harder. She doesn’t really see any point in many of the changes, adding, “It’s just a lot of paperwork.”
Although technology also is supposed to reduce the amount of paper used, she doesn’t see where there has been any reduction. “Some people can look at their little screens and read, but a hard copy is best I think. To be able to sit and read it and make notes,” she said. “Besides, computers can crash.”
So, what advice does Boyd have for her successor?
“Not letting the stress of the job get to them,” she said. “Have a good understanding of what needs to be done before making any decisions or taking any action.”
Most of all, she recommends the new finance director “Have a sense of humor. That’s key … being able to relax at some point throughout the day. There’s always something you can laugh about in the course of a day; even when it’s a bad day.”