The CCS Chief Financial Officer is the responsible executive, reporting directly to the Chancellor, for assigned finance, budget programs, and unit administration for Washington State Community College District 17, which is comprised of three educational units — Spokane Community College, Spokane Falls Community College and the Institute for Extended Learning. This position provides an exceptional executive the opportunity to lead CCS’ financial team in support of one of the most highly regarded higher education entities in the state.
The following traits, characteristics and personal competencies were cited during recent discussions with various CCS stakeholder groups and are critical to the success of the future Chief Financial Officer.
A collaborative leader who genuinely values differing viewpoints; creates venues for discussion and debate; believes that superior solutions result from collaboration but understands when informed decisions must be made in a timely manner and accepts accountability thereafter. Team builder who provides an effective link between district administration and the three educational units to help achieve fiscal and instructional goals in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
A problem solver who works with all constituencies to solve identified problems together rather than imposing solutions. Helps each unit develop their individual budgets to meet specific programmatic needs while adhering to overall district budgeting principles and constraints. Flexible in approaching challenges and opportunities in developing short and long range budget forecasts in consultation with various stakeholder groups.
Creative problem solver who works to understand the needs of stakeholders to develop innovative solutions within sound fiscal principles. Looks for ways to eliminate duplication of efforts and increase system efficiencies to maximize limited budgets. Works with executive team to identify and manage alternate funding sources in response to changing state funding formulas and support. Lifelong learner that embraces change while demonstrating the ability to effectively manage delivery of financial services within existing systems.Ability to thrive during times of change.Adaptable to new ways of looking at processes and implementing new risk management and resource planning systems.
Resilient leader with the subject matter expertise and confidence to effectively delegate work through professional staff in support of district and educational unit goals. Calm, flexible, and able to handle rapid change, adversity and challenges from both within and outside the organization. Willingness to make tough decisions but communicate the “why” rather than just dictating answers. Able to handle the broad scope, depth, and breadth of a large, mutli-unit community college district and competing priorities. Proactively resolves conflicts and promotes mutual respect. A leader with knowledge drawn from broad experience, who displays critical thinking skills, a system perspective that appropriately considers all implications of potential decisions, and the foresight to select the best decision possible.
Ability to network internally as well as with external community, legislators and state policy makers, and other key players in the state system. Exercises sound financial management and effective budgeting practices. Demonstrated experience in and support for multi-gain, collective bargaining. Critically energized to identify resources, challenges, and critical information necessary to form well reasoned responses to financial issues. Provides leadership, oversight, and stewardship for all aspects of CCS’ financial resources with proven integrity and fiduciary compliance.
A genuine communicator, who possesses outstanding interpersonal skills, listens more than he/she speaks, learns from and values input, negotiates and collaborates effectively, and appreciates reason, logic and differing viewpoints. Mediates issues before they become disputes and positions become entrenched; looks for right answers, not just being “right.” Can communicate complex financial information in layman’s terms as appropriate to various stakeholder groups. Clearly communicates deadlines and requirements to units and departments for developing budgets. Approachable, personable, actively engaged in a variety of formal and informal settings across the district. Oversees staff of subject matter experts that provides exceptional customer service and consultation to all employee groups.
Passionate about the welfare of all employees; supports employee training and professional development, both within business office as well as across the district. Thinks “outside the box” to generate new ideas and solutions to complex issues. Visionary about the future; experience developing and implementing strategic plans to address long term structural changes in delivery of educational services in challenging budgetary times. Embraces best practices and inspires employees to strive for excellence in their work. Highly motivated, self-starter and dedicated professional who has demonstrated a commitment to service, and a history of support for academic mission and institutional advancement.
Enthusiastically embraces continual improvement and new ways of approaching service delivery to improve customer service. Hands on CFO actively involved in and knowledgeable about business office process. Ensures respectful, responsive, comprehensive consultation by department to both internal and external customers. Uses customer interactions as opportunity to educate about processes, procedures, and regulations affecting business office customer support. Understands the budget is a tool to fulfill the mission and vision of CCS.
CFO FUTURE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Providing open, transparent, resourceful and effective fiscal administration of Community Colleges of Spokane during challenging budgetary times, working closely with the Chancellor and Executive team to establish short and long term financial strategies and goals.
Given the scope and breadth of CCS, the effective CFO needs to be able to delegate to staff appropriately day to day functions while maintaining appropriate interaction and availability with various stakeholders.
The CFO will need to be able to understand and balance competing interests of various groups (external community, faculty, students, and internal staff) during difficult financial times. Student and workforce demographic changes will require flexible, adaptable, technologically enhanced educational and support services, creating additional costs at a time decreased funding and rising tuition create challenges for enrollment and retention of students.
New Management Tools
The CFO will oversee the implementation of both a new Enterprise Risk Management program as well as a statewide pilot Enterprise Resource Planning system conversion with existing staffing levels. Union negotiations with faculty, as well as working within a unionized environment for both faculty and classified staff will present challenges especially in light of tightening budgets.
Redefining the CFO's Role
The new CFO will have the opportunity to redefine this role working with a new Chancellor and an updated strategic plan to position CCS for a changing educational environment. New ideas and insight into improving and enhancing CCS’ delivery of fiscal services with the support of a diverse and highly skilled business office provides a unique opportunity to update and upgrade CCS’ systems and processes.
Leading the Way
Changing demographics of CCS’ workforce and students provides an opportunity to help shape the future of an organization seen as a leader in the state higher education community. The implementation of a pilot Enterprise Resource Planning system will help position CCS as a leader in this increasingly important risk management and service delivery area. Successful implementation will serve as a guide and resource for other community colleges and provides an opportunity for professional growth and skill development for the CFO leading this effort.
Staffing and Funding
As a key executive for CCS, the CFO will have the ability to help develop and mentor CCS staff to address critical skill shortages predicted in the coming years due to retirements and loss of expertise in the community college system. The CFO is also positioned to provide critical information and insight to the executive team and Chancellor about obtaining and managing alternate funding sources to maintain and enhance CCS’ educational mission.
In a letter of application of five pages or less, individuals interested in this position should specifically state how they would address the challenges/opportunities facing CCS.
Applicants also must submit a current resume and the names, business and home telephone numbers of eight references, including two supervisors, two subordinates (including one classified or support staff), two faculty members, and two business or community members. Applicants from sectors other than higher education should submit comparable references.
Note: References will not be contacted without the applicant’s prior permission. All inquiries, applications and nominations will be held in strictest confidence. Materials submitted for consideration become the property of CCS.
Copies of academic transcripts are required. Unofficial copies will suffice for initial application, but official copies must be submitted if a candidate becomes a finalist.
Applications and nominations will be accepted until the position is filled. However, the CCS CFO screening committee will begin reviewing applications February 18, 2011. Submissions are encouraged prior to that time to ensure consideration. To view the CFO job description, including required qualifications, go to:
Applications should be addressed to the CCS CFO Screening Committee and submitted to:
CCS CFO Screening Committee
501 N Riverpoint Blvd MS 1004
PO Box 6000 Spokane WA 99217-6000
Phone: 509-434-5037 Fax: 509-434-5055
For additional information, contact:
Norm Sievert, District Director HR Services
501 N Riverpoint Blvd MS 1004
PO Box 6000 Spokane WA 99217-6000
Phone: 509-434-5037 Fax: 509-434-5055