Mayor Chris Beutler today announced the retirement of City Finance Director Don Herz effective August 31, 2011. The Mayor has appointed Steve Hubka to the position of Interim Director, and Hubka will continue to serve as the City Budget Officer. Herz has been Finance Director since June 1999. Hubka has been with the City for 29 years, including 21 years as Budget Officer.
Mayor Beutler said the City's financial position is among the nation's strongest because of the leadership of Herz and Hubka. He said the City's budget management has kept Lincoln's property tax rate among the lowest of Nebraska's 15 largest cities. And he cited the City's triple-A bond rating from the two major bond rating agencies – ratings that allow Lincoln to borrow at the lowest possible interest rate, saving tens of millions of dollars for City taxpayers.
The Mayor praised Herz for his distinguished career in public service. Before serving as Finance Director, Herz spent 15 years as the Financial Reporting and Systems Manager for the Accounting Division of the State's Administrative Services Department and seven years as Budget and Fiscal Officer for the Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. The UNL graduate also worked as a Supervisor/Senior Accountant for a private CPA firm.
"Whenever I have a difficult fiscal challenge on behalf of the citizens of our community, I have turned to Don Herz to solve them," Beutler said. "He has truly been a champion for a dynamic and growing community, while at the same time a problem solver who has kept his eye on the bottom line."
Hubka has balanced 22 budgets working for four Finance Directors and six Mayors. "Never in the history of our City has someone come to the job of Finance Director with more experience and ability than Steve," Beutler said.. Hubka is a lifelong Lincoln resident and UNL graduate. He worked in the State Auditor's office before joining the City in 1981 as Assistant City Auditor. He became Budget Officer in 1990 and served as Interim Finance Director from December 1998 to May 1999.
"Steve has been the voice of reason and fiscal responsibility, always preaching caution and prudence in meeting our financial challenges," Beutler said. "Steve has the combination of talent and experience we need to continue the record of financial excellence Lincoln has built under Don Herz's leadership. He will help us build an even stronger financial position for our future, a key to providing service to our citizens during these challenging economic times."
The Mayor said Hubka made the decision to take on the extra responsibility as both Interim Finance Director and Budget Officer instead of hiring someone to fill his current position. He also declined a salary increase. "It is another example of the selflessness and dedication Steve has exhibited throughout his career," Beutler said. "The Finance Department has a very talented and experienced staff who have agreed to help Steve by assuming more responsibility as he accepts the new challenge of leading the Department."
The Finance Department has 66 employees and is responsible for the appropriation, collection, investment and disbursement of City funds. The Department also prepares all City bond issues and assists the Mayor in the development of the annual budget. The Divisions in the Department include City Treasurer, Budget, Purchasing, Accounting, City Clerk and Information Services.