Woodstock ends long search for finance director

WOODSTOCK – The city has pegged its next finance director, capping a lengthy search that started after City Manager Roscoe Stelford’s promotion in March.

Officials selected Paul Christensen, current head of the finance department of Schiller Park and formerly of Fox Lake, to assume the role.

“His breadth of experience in the municipal sector” was a key factor in the hiring, Stelford said.

Christensen, 39, is a certified public accountant with a certified public finance officer designation. In Schiller Park, he works in a community with about half the population of Woodstock but with a similar budget.

He will start in Woodstock in mid-November.

Stelford said the budget similarities coupled with the fact Schiller Park, like Woodstock, has a tax increment financing district made Christensen a strong choice.

Schiller Park’s location near the airport allowed it to have more diverse revenue streams, Christensen said. But he also drew comparisons between the two communities.

“I thought it was a really good opportunity,” he said. “I liked the community, and I thought I could bring a lot of the experience I gained at the other municipalities I’ve worked at.”

Christensen’s hiring is the result of the city’s second round of applications and interviews.

The position was first posted in April, netting 22 applicants.

City officials interviewed six applicants but decided to go back to the drawing board.

“We had it down to two finalists, but neither one was found to be a good fit,” Human Resources Director Deb Schober said.

The position was reposted in June, and 10 applicants boiled down to four interviewees. Christensen was selected from among two finalists.

He takes over for Stelford, who had been the finance director and treasurer for 13 years before starting as city manager in early May. Before he was promoted, Stelford was also serving as deputy city manager, a position that will remain unfilled.

“The city has historically used the deputy city manager when there is an interest, and when they have a real depth of understanding of the city as a whole,” Stelford said.

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