New Aitkin County Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Kathleen Ryan worked for the county in various fiscal-related capacities for almost 20 years before she assumed that role at the auditor’s office on Sept. 4.
Equipped with a degree in finance from St. Cloud State University, Ryan worked for the Aitkin County Auditor for eight months, and in the Aitkin County Recorder’s office for two years. Ryan then went on to be fiscal supervisor for Aitkin County Health and Human Services for 17 years, before taking a position as administrator of the city of Aitkin. Ryan served in that role for exactly two years.
“It was a very difficult choice to leave the city. I had to look at my strengths, which were always in the fiscal area rather than just focusing on administration. This position will allow me to focus more on a specific area of expertise, and that will enable me to have more energy for a well-rounded life that includes volunteering and family,” said Ryan.
Ryan has a husband and two children. Her daughter is a junior at the College of St. Benedict and her son is a freshman at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
The county CFO’s responsibilities include managing and supervising the license center, supervising auditor office staff, monitoring budget expenditures and revenues, providing support to the county administrator, and maintaining documentation to ensure a successful audit. Ryan will also be doing election administration and learning the duties of the auditor so that she can eventually take over the duties Kirk Peysar handles now.
Ryan was already familiar with many aspects of county business because of her previous work experience, so there were no big surprises when she returned. Ryan was able to fit right in to the county government’s work culture because she was familiar with the software systems and accounting practices already.
Ryan’s biggest challenge? Getting ready to oversee election administration will be a learning curve for her, especially with the presidential primary coming up.
The auditor’s office has moved into the new Aitkin County Government Center and the staff, including Ryan, is making the necessary adjustments.