The man in charge of providing information on Westford’s town budgets has a new title, filling a role left open for the past three years.
Dan O’Donnell has been given a promotion from Budget Director to Finance Director, Westford’s first Finance Director since the departure of Suzanne Marchand in 2011.
The move came as part of a reorganization of the town employee organizational structure as well obtaining a master’s degree in public administration from Northeastern this spring. However, O’Donnell expects that his duties will be largely similar, only with a higher salary tier and management responsibility over other town employees.
A long-time Westford resident, O’Donnell just moved back to town earlier this year due in part to the town’s school system. In his new role, he wants to continue helping the town provide quality, cost-effective services to its residents, but there will be challenges to overcome in meeting that goal.
“Right now FY’16 looks good, but there are so many unknowns for FY’17,” he said.
In particular, he has concerns over potential fluctuations in healthcare costs, and hopes that the $500,000 placed into a healthcare stabilization fund at Town Meeting this year can maintain the average tax bill residents get, which is currently at $7,315.62.
O’Donnell’s place in town government began in 1996 while he was a junior in high school. Then, he was a counselor for the Recreation Department, staying there before moving to the permitting department and serving as a GIS intern while studying business administration at UMass Lowell.
After graduation, he was hired by the town full time as a finance technician in 2005 before being promoted to finance and budget analyst in 2007 and then budget director after the departure of Marchand.
It may be too soon to tell what lies in O’Donnell’s future, but he hopes that Westford can remain a part of it.
“I’m not going anywhere in the near future,” he says. “I’m kind of partial to the four minute commute.”
More information on the Finance Department is available on the town website.