FALL RIVER — Another key position at the town hall The administration of Paul Coogan was officially filled Tuesday after the city council, in a unanimous vote, approved the nomination of Bridget Almon, a resident of Rhode Island, for the position of city chief financial officer.
“Bridget is a very experienced financial manager. She has a wide variety of skills in everything from budgets, audits, capital to asset management; she did all of that,” Coogan said ahead of the vote. “She has multiple certifications.”
Coogan said there were five people, including himself, on the selection board and “everyone was impressed with her.”
Almon’s current position as Director of Finance and Operations in the Foster/Glocester Regional School District is a position she has held since 2015. Previously, she worked in another school district in Rhode Island and in the private sector. .
In addition to a lengthy resume in finance, Almon has his pilot’s license.
After the council vote, Almon talked about coming to work in Fall River.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity. I think I can bring some of what I learned from working in the private sector and then working in school departments,” Almon said. “I was very impressed with the mayor. I like that he has integrity and transparency and that’s really important to me and helped me make my decision.”
Board in time for budget season
Almon will join Mayor Paul Coogan’s administration in about a month and just as city council receives the fiscal year 2023 budget.
She said she just finished a budget for her school district and said she was focused on “seeking efficiency.” Almon also said it was important for her to listen to different department heads to learn about their needs and advocate for those priorities.
“In my current school district, I’ve saved taxpayers over $2 million by paying off their obligations a year after taking the job,” Almon said.
“I’m looking for savings. My husband will tell you I’m not paying full price for anything,” Almon joked.
Almon replaces former chief financial officer Mary Sahady, who had held the position since 2016. Sahady left her post abruptly in December and before her contract expired in January.
Since Sahady’s departure, Coogan has enlisted Edward Iacoponi to build the 2023 budget. He worked with former Mayor Will Flanagan’s administration as he transitioned into office.
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Sahady departed at the same time as Fall River Police Chief Jeffrey Cardoza made his departure after a more than 30-year career with the police department, retiring earlier this month.
Coogan held other key positions
Coogan said he has given acting police chief Paul Gauvin a 60-day extension in the interim role that will likely be permanent. His administration is currently in contract talks with Gauvin, who is a ranking captain in the department.
After a tumultuous election season between Coogan and now-doomed former mayor Jasiel Correia II in 2019, it was difficult to attract candidates to fill Government Center positions. Then less than three months into Coogan’s first term, the COVID pandemic hit.
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Seth Thomas Aitken, a short-lived assistant city attorney, was named Coogan Town Administrator in January, a position left vacant since November 2019 when former councilman Cathy Ann Viveiros stepped down. She ran an unsuccessful sticker campaign against Coogan.
Daniel Aguiar recently came on board as the city’s newest engineer, as did urban planner Kaitlin Young, who quickly transitioned from assistant urban planner after Bill Kenney’s retirement.
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Nick Macolini was recently promoted to head of the human resources department, replacing Madeline Coelho who also recently retired.
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City Auditor Jennifer Argo is leaving her job in Fall River for a job with the Town of Seekonk, and the positions of assistant auditor, assistant planner, and facilities and grounds manager remain unfilled.
Jo C. Goode can be reached at [email protected]. Support local journalism and subscribe to The Herald News today!