Marlene Druga is promoted to head the city’s finance department

Overshadowed by the conditional hiring of a member of city council as city department head, there was a much more normal promotion of a long-serving city employee to the position of department head.

Acting Director of the Department of Financial and Administrative Services Marlene Druga was promoted to Director of the Department of Financial and Administrative Services last week. Druga replaces former chief financial officer Rick Lusk who retired after 35 years with the city in March — not only without fanfare, but without the city even issuing the usual press release. So Druga’s appointment as director without fanfare seems normal for the financial and administrative services department.

Druga has been with the city since 1994 and served as chief financial reporting officer and deputy chief financial officer before being named acting director.

Deputy City Manager Larry Davis, who announced the promotion, said in a press release, “Our finance department has been the mainstay of stability for decades and we are thrilled to have Marlene in the role of manager. Marlene has been integral to the department’s success. She provides continuity and excellent leadership as we move forward.

The city council knows Druga better than some deputy directors because Druga has often made presentations and reports on behalf of the finance department to the city council. It was also a poorly kept secret that the city council preferred Druga to give these reports because Lusk often spoke in financial terms that some city council members found difficult to understand.

Druga’s presentations were much friendlier to those not involved in borrowing and investing millions of dollars.

It should also be noted that Druga has some big shoes to fill. Every year during Lusk’s tenure as chief financial officer, the city received an “unqualified audit opinion” on the city’s annual financial statements, meaning the city received an A+ for those who do not work in the financial services sector.

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