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Tosa resident will oversee city's finances

Previous choice for finance director backed out of offer

March 30, 2011

A Wauwatosa resident will helm the city's Finance Department.

The Common Council on Tuesday approved hiring John Ruggini at a starting salary of $97,840. He also will receive three weeks of vacation and a week of executive leave.

He has worked as the assistant fiscal and budget administrator for Milwaukee County since 2008. In that capacity, Alderwoman Cheryl Berdan worked with him as a former county employee.

"He's top notch," she said. "His commonsense and demeanor will be an excellent fit here."

Ruggini became a candidate after the prior selection, Craig Kammholz, backed out of the job offer.

Ruggini was not in the original pool of applicants - possibly to keep from competing with a co-worker - but he was found by the recruitment firm the city had worked with, City Administrator James Archambo said. That firm had never stopped searching.

"I feel exceptionally comfortable with his ability to take this position," Archambo said. "If he had been an applicant in the first group, he would have probably been the top choice."

In fact, he sees Ruggini's background in performance-based budgeting as a needed tool in the city. The trend in budgeting is to measure a city's performance against itself in prior years as well as against other municipalities. That will help identify areas for efficiencies and cost-savings.

His resume shows he has been coordinating the county's $1.5 billion operating budget. That has entailed supervising eight staff members, analyzing departmental requests, developing cost-saving initiatives and working with county officials.

Prior to the county job, he worked in Chicago for the Government Finance Officers Association as the manager of the research and consulting center. In that role, he assisted municipalities and school districts by evaluating financial, human resources, payroll and technology systems, helped negotiate better financial contracts and researched opportunities for intergovernmental cooperation.

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