December 14, 2012 11:45:44 AM
The chief financial officer for the City of Columbus resigned Wednesday afternoon.
Mike Bernsen, who has been the CFO for the city since 2008, will take a position as the new comptroller for Columbus Light and Water.
Pending approval by the Light and Water board, Bernsen will replace current comptroller Emily Harrington, who is retiring.
A native of Beaumont, Texas, Bernsen first came to Columbus with APAC. He lived in the area for five years before moving to Atlanta to work in APAC's corporate office.
In June 2008, he returned to Columbus to take the position as the city's CFO.
"I've had an opportunity to really get back to my accounting roots, and that's been enjoyable," Bernsen said. "I've really enjoyed the day-to-day hands-on."
Bernsen said that while he was working in the same field, accounting in the private sector is incredibly different than accounting related to the government. He added that working as the CFO for Columbus gave him an opportunity to re-examine his chosen field.
"It gave me a fresh look on my career choice," he said. "It confirmed that I made the right decision years ago."
Bernsen said he has enjoyed his time working for the city but he is excited to get back to the accounting that he did for the majority of his career.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to familiar financial procedures and reporting that I was accustomed to in the private industry," he said.
"Governmental accounting is an animal all to itself. And the learning curve is much more gradual than your standard accounting."
He said he cherishes the relationships he has built with his fellow staff members at city hall and he looks forward to continuing to work with them on future projects.
"I've had excellent experiences with all the department heads and city council," he said. "It's been a joy. Without exception, there is no one that I wouldn't work with again."
The Light and Water Department is affiliated with the city of Columbus, but it has its own board and does not answer to the mayor or city council.
Bernsen's last day as the city's CFO is Dec. 28.
Pending board approval, he will begin at the Light and Water Department Jan. 2.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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