Westerville will begin its search for a new financial director this week, following the announcement by current finance director Jack Winkel two weeks ago that he will leave his post for a position with the Bexley Public Library.

Westerville will begin its search for a new financial director this week, following the announcement by current finance director Jack Winkel two weeks ago that he will leave his post for a position with the Bexley Public Library.

His last day in Westerville will be Sept. 30.

He will be paid $70,000 annually, according to library director Rachel Rubin. He was paid $115,044 a year in Westerville.

Westerville city manager Dave Collinsworth said the process for finding a new finance director is still being developed, but he said the position will be posted by the end of this week and the city will advertise the opening with public finance professional groups.

"We're going to want to have (someone with) significant municipal finance experience," Collinsworth said. "We will certainly have minimum requirement of a bachelor's degree, with a master's preference in public finance or that general discipline. Obviously, we're going to be looking for someone who's got a background in public finance."

Collinsworth said a timeline has not yet been established for when the application process will close and when the city will conduct interviews and select a candidate.

However, he said, it's likely to be a lengthy process because of the importance of the job and because the position likely will attract significant attention from those in public finance.

"For a position of this kind and quality, it's usually a four- to five-month process from the time you advertise, get applications in, do your first level review of applications, start your interview process, do a few rounds of interviews, do your background checks of candidates," Collinsworth said. "This will be a very highly sought-after position. We will have a good crop of candidates to be able to choose from because this is going to be a good opportunity for somebody."

With Westerville's high bond ratings and record of spotless state audits, Collinsworth said the pressure is on to find the ideal candidate to replace Winkel, who has held his post for more than 30 years.

"You've got some huge shoes to fill, and we're not going to rush into that because we know we want to find the perfect candidate out there because it's an important position," Collinsworth said. "We have to make sure that the next person is up to the task."

While Westerville performs its search, assistant finance director Gina Love will serve as interim finance director.

Love's appointment was approved by city council at its Sept. 21 meeting, during which members expressed their regret in seeing Winkel leave.

"We are saddened by that," Council Chairman Mike Heyeck said.

He said Winkel leave behind high bond ratings that save Westerville money and financial strategies that will lead to a solid financial future.

"Mr. Winkel has a legacy that will last for a long time," he said.

Council member Eric Busch echoed those sentiments.

"(Winkel) does represent quintessential excellence in public service," Busch said. "The tradition of cities is to put up statues to firefighters and policemen. We don't typically erect them for finance directors, but if we did, it would be a tall one."