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Portage commissioners narrow field for budget director

By Mike sever | staff writer Published: March 6, 2013 4:00 AM

Portage County commissioners have narrowed the field to three for the job of director of budget and financial management for the county board.

Commissioners had about 40 applicants for the position and interviewed the finalists last week. Commissioners have been operating on a quarterly budget adopted by the outgoing board late last year. A final version of the 2013 budget for the county was put on hold until it was known how much cash would be carried over, and until the budget director's job was filled.

The three finalists to head the board's finance and budget office are: Barbara Rissland, who was Kent finance director for nearly 20 years and most recently was finance director for the city of Rittman; Alice Filinovich, who was the assistant commissioner of finance for Cleveland Public Power; and Joseph DiRuzza, who is director of finance for the mayor of Canton.

The job has been vacant since Audrey Tillis left at the end of July to take a similar job in Mahoning County. She had been director since 2007.

Tillis has been working since then as a consultant for Portage commissioners.

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Rissland was forced out of the job as director of finance and budget in Kent in March 2009. At the time, City Manager Dave Ruller said Rissland had served the city well, but his administration was looking for a different direction from the position.

At the time, Rissland was given the option of being fired or leaving with a severance package. Rissland was placed on administrative leave for two weeks during the negotiations.

Kent terminated Rissland's employment when she came back to the office after failing to reach an agreement with the city on a severance package.

Rissland was hired by Rittman six months later to be that city's finance director. She retired from Rittman at the end of 2012 but agreed to stay on until a replacement could be found.

The director of the office of financial management and budget is responsible for providing budgetary and financial guidance to the board of county commissioners, the solid waste management district and other county departments. The office also is responsible for central accounting services for board's departments, including utility billing.

The job has a salary range of $65,021 to $91,790.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1125 or msever@recordpub.com

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rikki Mar 7, 2013 10:49 AM

Has anyone run a search on their names? Just look up Filinovich....

rikki Mar 7, 2013 10:47 AM

Has anyone looked up Filinovich? Just do a quick search of her name.....

anonymous Mar 6, 2013 4:56 PM

By all means, let us get someone that was forced out of some place else. Do you mean that out of 40 people these were the ones you figured was best? Maybe we should just contract it out to some reputable accounting firm.

anonymous Mar 6, 2013 1:45 PM

Cents you are a trip!!!

anonymous Mar 6, 2013 1:44 PM


anonymous Mar 6, 2013 10:24 AM

There ya go again R/C, tooooo much heat so lets censor the truth!

anonymous Mar 6, 2013 10:23 AM

Touched a nerve! Been following a couple of these political figures for several yrs. Seems like they move from one county to the next. Just holin' Limbert and Kelly accountable. Sorry if I offended ya! Just makes "CENTS"!

anonymous Mar 6, 2013 9:41 AM

When you choose to criticize Portage County law enforcement in the comment section of an article about the hiring of a budget director, you make it painfully obvious that you have an axe to grind with them. Don't know if you were arrested by county law enforcement, specifically the drug task force, and you feel the arrest was not justified or if you have something against them personally but, either way, calling names and playing word games with their names has grown tired. Whatever it is, get over it and move on.