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Nashville hires finance director

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The town of Nashville’s future finance director has been quite an enterprising person since as far back as when she was a girl.

Samantha Sanchez told the Telegram of taking her grandmother’s lawn mower and going about the neighborhood in the spring and summer, moving fellow residents’ grass, tidying up their yards and cleaning their houses to earn greenbacks.

Sanchez’s education in business at Meredith College, combined with experience as a staff accountant for Franklin County’s government, have resulted in her being named Nashville’s new chief financial officer.

Town Manager Randy Lansing announced the hire in a press release earlier this week. Sanchez is going to report for work on Sept. 30 and is going to be paid $65,000 a year.

Sanchez, 33, has been working for Franklin County since May 2016.

Sanchez on Wednesday told the Telegram that, “I value collaboration and openness and honesty.”

She said she decided to seek the finance director position in Nashville because the town is growing and has much going on aligned with her values of community and with her level of skill.

She said she particularly likes the Harold D. Cooley Library’s programs and the town’s parks and recreation programs.

“These are things that towns are able to kind of focus in on more so than counties can,” she said.

She also said the town has a detailed budget and a thriving revenue source.

Sanchez told the Telegram she mainly believes the town’s government is looking for some stability in the finance department.

“And that’s what I’m hoping to be able to provide,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez also said she considers herself to be quite people friendly.

The finance department has been operating with temporary leadership because Linda Modlin was fired in June 2018 after having been placed on administrative leave.

The dismissal of Modlin came after Hank Raper was fired as manager after complaints about Raper allegedly being rude to residents.

The town operated with interim managers — first Pete Connet, then Leonard Barefoot — until Lansing was sworn in in June.

During the town council meeting in early March, interim Finance Director Melonie Bryan announced Russell Langley had been hired as an assistant finance director, with the plan being to eventually elevate him to the top position.

Langley, an alumnus of Nash Central High School and Campbell University, had worked for the state Department of Revenue as a revenue auditor.

Langley bid farewell to the town’s government late last month to go work with his parents at their business in town. Prior to leaving his job at the town hall, Langley was being paid a salary of $53,496.

Sanchez told the Telegram she would not want to come in and have to — or need to — make sweeping changes at first in the finance department.

At the same time, she emphasized if changes are needed, then she would reach out to the people who would be affected by those changes. She emphasized she would work with them on driving changes that are going to be beneficial for everybody in a long-term way.

Sanchez graduated Summa Cum Laude from Meredith College with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a minor in finance. Sanchez also said she interned in marketing with a small business in Raleigh.

Sanchez received additional education in accounting via distance learning from the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Sanchez also has participated in the N.C. Government Finance Officers Association certification program. The program is offered through the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Sanchez said she anticipates she is going to be a certified finance officer by January 2020.

As for why she wanted to be an accountant, she said she fell into this line of work in joining Franklin County’s government.

“My original passion was economics,” she said.

She said she liked economics because it involves more of an applied type of mathematics.

“I really didn’t have an interest in accounting until I took an accounting job — and I found I really have a knack for it,” she said.

She is married and she and her husband have two children. The family lives in Franklinton.

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