By the Sauk Valley Media Editorial Board

Like marshals, finance director has work to do

Dixon’s new finance director, Paula Meyer, has been on the job for several weeks now. We hope she uses her experience and professionalism to restore residents’ trust in city government. Good luck.

Out at Rita Crundwell’s ranch southeast of Dixon, a small army assembled by the U.S. Marshals Service has been busy dealing with what Dixon’s ex-comptroller left behind after her April 17 arrest for wire fraud.

In Crundwell’s former office at Dixon City Hall, one person is on the job dealing with what Crundwell left behind there.

At the ranch, marshals appear to have done a creditable job auctioning off Crundwell’s hundreds of horses and other property, said to have been purchased with some of the $53 million that Crundwell is accused of misappropriating from city coffers over 22 years.

At city hall, Paula Meyer, the city’s new finance director, appears to be doing a similar creditable job as Crundwell’s replacement.

Meyer started her new job on Sept. 10 and was officially sworn in on Sept. 17. Right off the bat, Meyer told Dixon City Council members that she plans to regularly attend council meetings – something that Crundwell didn’t do.

Good decision, we say.

Meyer, interviewed during her first week on the job, said she planned to hire an accounting technician to help with the work.

She also planned to familiarize herself with new software so that accounting could be brought in-house.

And she already had begun to work through a to-do list left for her by the city’s interim comptrollers.

A restructuring of the finance department is under way, so that financial duties can be separated to thwart future misappropriation of funds.

Meyer’s background makes her a good fit. She served as the controller at Sauk Valley Community College for a decade, then was dean of business services for more than 6 years.

Meyer spoke of how she expected to work long hours for the first year to master Dixon’s finances. By comparison, her predecessor was gone weeks at a time showing all those horses.

Rita Crundwell’s tenure is a vivid example of the wrong way to operate city finances.

We expect Paula Meyer to provide a vivid example of the right way.

Good luck.

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