City of New Hope: Going Beyond The Numbers to Build Trust
July 8, 2013
We’ve been all ears to the City of New Hope since 2008. Here’s what we’ve heard…
The City of New Hope is located within the Twin Cities metro area—just northwest of Minneapolis. The thriving city is often recognized for its strong neighborhoods, abundance of parks, excellent schools and fabulous shopping.
When the City of New Hope’s finance director resigned in 2008, Abdo, Eick & Meyers was hired to oversee the city’s financial operations in the interim. As New Hope City Manager Kirk McDonald recalls, “The relationship blossomed from there.”
Soon Abdo, Eick & Meyers—specifically Managing Partner Steve McDonald and Client Services Manager Kristi Brutlag—was serving as the city’s contract finance director and working hard to help the city get their finances back in order. Kristi even spent part of her New Year’s Eve holiday balancing city accounts in preparation for the audit. “Their commitment to getting things right helped rebuild the trust between the finance department and the city council,“ says Kirk.
Regaining the trust between the two departments first required Kirk and the city council to step out on a limb. New Hope was one of the first cities in the metro area to adopt the concept of a contract finance director. “Luckily I’m not afraid to try new things,” laughs Kirk. “And neither is the city council!”
Since bringing Abdo, Eick & Meyers on board, the city has earned a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Minnesota Government Finance Officers Association (MNGFOA) each year. “Having AEM as our finance director has allowed our finance department to reduce duplications and streamline processes,” explains Kirk. “We’re way more efficient.”
For Steve and Kristi, their role as contract finance director goes beyond the office walls. “I admire their commitment to our city,” says Kirk. “Even though they’re not required to, they frequently attend extracurricular and chamber of commerce events, which really goes a long way toward building solid relationships among the department heads.”
“Even on days when they’re not in our office, I always find them to be available by email or phone. Most important, I always feel like they care.”