Annapolis finance director resigns during budget deliberations

Danielle Ohl

Annapolis Finance Director Bruce Miller resigned Monday, leaving the city with an acting finance director during this year’s budget deliberations.

Miller has worked for the city since 2010. Assistant finance director Melissa Leaman will serve as the acting finance director until Mayor Gavin Buckley can find a replacement for Miller.

“During her six years with the City, Melissa has assumed increased duties and promotions due to her outstanding competency and dedication. We especially appreciate Melissa stepping up to help the City during our budget deliberations,” city manager Teresa Sutherland said in a statement.

Sutherland did not say why Miller left. He could not be reached for comment.

Miller departs as the City Council is in the middle of early deliberations on Buckley’s proposed $120 million spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year, marking a 20 percent increase in the rate. It includes a controversial 13 cent property tax increase.

Buckley has said the city’s finances were in worse shape than he realized when he was campaigning against incumbent Mayor Mike Pantelides last year. Among the surprises was a practice of projecting turnover among city employees in fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017 that never fully materialized.

Savings in payroll and benefits that did take place when employees left were wiped out by overtime expenses for unfilled shifts. About $1.2 million of turnover, called attrition, was budgeted for the current year.

The Finance Committee and Financial Advisory Commission will continue to discuss the budget in the coming weeks, with the committee set report its findings to the full council by Monday. The commission does not have a deadline but usually reports its findings before the first public hearing on the budget, set this year during the City Council meeting on Monday.

The Finance Committee is slated to meet again Wednesday. The council must adopt a budget by July 1.

Leaman has served the city since 2012 after leaving employment with the town of Winterville, North Carolina. She has a bachelor's degree in finance and a master’s degree in public administration from East Carolina University.

The city will begin searching for a new director soon, officials said.

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