Assistant Chief Financial Officer Michele Karas, a 19-year veteran of Winthrop Town Hall, has decided to accept a position with the city of Everett. One source indicated that Karas had accepted a position managing the city’s parking department, but that information could not be confirmed as of Tuesday night.
It is enough to know that a long-term, hard-working employee who rose from the position as parking clerk to Assistant Chief Financial Officer and MIS Director for the town is leaving.
“I guess she feels it is a good move for her career,” said Town Manager James McKenna, who added that he was sad to see Karas leave, but happy for her that she has an opportunity she is looking forward to.”
“I hate to see her go,” said McKenna. “She’s been a great worker, she’s done a lot for a lot of people in town government and in the community and I know she’s well-respected, but she has to do what she has to do for herself and I respect that.”
McKenna, who is in the midst of a hiring process for a new CFO, following the dismissal of Michael Bertino in late April, acknowledged that losing the top two people in his financial department was difficult, but said that the town and schools will use the challenge to start anew.
“Obviously, it’s a challenge, there’s no question about that, but we’ve already brought in some additional, interim help to get us through this phase and we’ll look at this has an opportunity to create a fresh start,” said McKenna.
The Town Manager also pointed out that Karas’ departure is in no way a reflection on town government or the management of the financial departments.
“She really is somebody we’re going to miss, she has worked here for a long time and done a great job,” he said. “In some ways its good to know that people from Winthrop are being chosen for these competitive positions in other communities.”
McKenna referenced the recent decision by former grants coordinator Peter Lombardi who has accepted a position with the city of Newburyport as another example of that growth among the town’s employees.
“I encouraged Peter’s professional development while he was here, he came out of a program that trains people to be Town Managers and he has a goal of becoming a town manager in the future and this is a move will help him realize that goal,” said McKenna, who also said that he intends to fill both of the recent openings.
“I’ve already begun interviewing candidates for the grants position, we have some great candidates and the departure of Michele (Karas) will give us an opportunity to look for ways to improve our organization, and maybe change the way we do some things, shift some responsibility back to other areas and we’ll do that. But we will fill that position as well.”