December 19, 2012 10:40:53 AM
The search to find the replacement for Columbus Chief Financial Officer Mike Bernsen is officially under way. The Columbus City Council accepted the resignation of Bernsen during Tuesday's meeting. Bernsen announced he was resigning from his position with the city last Wednesday to take a position as the comptroller for Columbus Light and Water.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to familiar financial procedures and reporting that I was accustomed to in the private industry," Bernsen said last week.
During an executive session after the regular meeting, Bernsen's resignation and his salary were discussed among the council members.
"We talked about Mike and what he has meant to the city," Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin said. "We also talked about possibly hiring a city clerk or an assistant to the CFO so that we won't get in a bind like this again."
Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem, who asked to discuss the resignation as a personnel matter in executive session, said the council was optimistic about hiring an assistant for Bernsen's replacement.
"The suggestion of hiring an assistant was well received by the council," Karriem said. "Everyone knows this is something we really need."
Gavin said the council also approved raising the salary of the next CFO to "between $68,000 and $73,000." According to director of human resources, Pat Mitchell, Bernsen makes an annual salary of $65,172.13.
"I suggested if we are going to pay someone this money, we should try and keep Mike," Gavin said. "But he's a getting a pretty substantial pay increase at the electric department and we just can't match that. He's getting a healthy raise and I respect that. Mike has been an excellent employee. He's been a very valuable employee and he has been honest with us when it comes to what we can and can't spend. We are going to advertise for his position and find the best possible candidate we can get."
Karriem also praised Bernsen's time with the city.
"Mike's been a stand-up guy," Karriem said. "He's been one of the best department heads we have had."
Karriem said former city consultant Mike Crowder, Bernsen and city human resources director Pat Mitchell will be assisting the city with its accounting duties in the interim.
Bernsen has been the CFO since 2008. His last day in his current position will be Dec. 28.