Local Government and Politics, News

Lynn hires a new city chief financial officer

Michael Bertino, a Winthrop resident, has been treasurer/collector for the city of Somerville since 2016.

LYNN — City officials hope its new chief financial officer Michael Bertino, can help bail Lynn out of its rough financial situation.

Bertino was hired as a full-time CFO, replacing retiring CFO Peter Caron, who was part time.

His start date is Sept. 10.

After a monthslong search, Mayor Thomas M. McGee recommended the appointment of Bertino to the City Council on Tuesday night, with the panel unanimously approving the selection. Bertino had been publicly interviewed by the Council on Tuesday before the vote.

“I think it’s a great fit for the city and we look forward to bringing him on,” McGee said.

Before the $319.5 million fiscal year 2019 city budget approval in June, McGee said the extensive search had been whittled down to three candidates. But Bertino was the only candidate interviewed by the Council.

Bertino, a Winthrop resident, has been treasurer/collector for the city of Somerville since 2016.

Under the terms of his five-year contract, Bertino will be paid a salary of $160,000. Pay increases will be contingent upon pay increases received by members of Local 3147 or at the discretion of the mayor with City Council approval.

“I’m excited and looking forward to this opportunity to work with everybody — the mayor, his staff, the citizens of Lynn, as well as all the councilmen,” Bertino said. “I’m energetic, hungry, and I want to help the city move forward.”

Prior to his tenure in Somerville, Bertino was the finance director for the town of West Newbury for two years and the finance director for the town of Winthrop for 11 years.

Bertino worked in business, with what he characterized as private sector work, banking and some consulting before his nearly 20-year career in government.

During his interview, Bertino said he was happy with his current job in Somerville, but felt he could make more of an impact in Lynn, referencing the city’s financial instability.

He remembers reading about the recent downgrade in the city’s financial statements, possibly referring to its bond rating being lowered earlier this year with its financial outlook termed negative, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

“Somerville is a great city,” Bertino said. “I work with very talented people more so than I’ve ever been around … I learned a lot from them, but they’re going to be fine with or without Mike Bertino. So, I said I want to go somewhere where I can add a little bit more value and make a difference.”

To achieve a balanced budget this year, city officials had to dig themselves out of a financial hole through legislation, a home rule petition that was approved earlier this year by the City Council, state legislature and signed off on by Gov. Charlie Baker that allowed the city to borrow up to $14 million to close their budget deficit.

The city had to borrow $9.5 million this year to balance the city’s FY18 budget and is still borrowing $4 million for the FY19 budget.

The home rule petition also eliminated the residency requirement for the CFO, which was meant to further open up the pool of candidates. McGee previously told The Item that it was important to get the best possible candidate for the CFO position to help officials get their hands around the city’s finances.

Bertino said he doesn’t have any plans to move to Lynn, but that he loves the ocean and would never rule out anything.

“I’m ready for the challenge and I think we’ll continue to move the city forward,” Bertino said. “I’m happy to provide the leadership that we need and the full-time commitment.”

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