Pleasanton Weekly

News - July 9, 2010

Emily Wagner named city's new finance director

Former investment banker takes charge of sherherding $180-million budget

by Jeb Bing

Emily Wagner, economic development fiscal officer for the city of Pleasanton, has been named the city's Finance Director starting today, succeeding Dave Culver who has taken a similar position with the city of San Mateo. Wagner's salary will be $170,000 per year.

Wagner has extensive finance experience both in the private sector and in government, including eight years in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the assistant city manager and director of finance. She left the city position in 1985 to become an investment banker in 1985, spending spent 12 years with public finance firms before starting her own firm.

She rejoined the city in May 2006 in the new position of economic development fiscal officer, working with both City Manager Nelson Fialho and Director of Economic Development Pamela Ott on major city projects that have included the Bernal property financing, ACE train station location, permit streamlining and downtown parking improvements.

Most recently, she worked with Culver in preparing the city's $180 million operating budget and capital improvement program for the 2010-11 fiscal year, which began July 1. That budget is a mid-year update of a two-year budget the council accepted for the current fiscal year, which has been updated quarterly over the last 12 months because of changing economic trends and lower-than-anticipated revenue.

Wagner and her colleagues in the finance department will now take responsibility for tracking property assessments and sales taxes to adjust the budget as needed on a quarterly basis going forward.

During Wagner's 22 years in investment banking, she was responsible for the successful completion of 189 bond financings totaling in excess of $7.4 billion. She also had first-hand experience in the issuance of lease revenue bonds, certificates of participation, general obligation bonds, land-secured financings, housing mortgage revenue bonds, tax allocation bonds and short-term financings. Her clients included cities, counties, schools and special districts.

Wagner graduated from Amador Valley High School. She received a bachelor's degree in accounting from San Jose State University and a master's degree in finance from California State University East Bay. She also taught Public Finance and Governmental Accounting at Cal State East Bay in the school's Masters in Public Administration program.

Culver was hired by Pleasanton 4-1/2 years ago from Santa Cruz, where he was that city's Director of Finance and Treasurer. As San Mateo's new director of finance, he has financial responsibilities for a larger city with a population of 96,000, compared to Pleasanton's 68,000, and also serves as ex-officio treasurer of the San Mateo Redevelopment Agency, an active group that provides millions of dollars in funding for major capital improvements in that city.

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