Lynnwood Finance Director Sonja Springer retiring after 37-year career in public service

Sonja Springer (Photo courtesy of the City of Lynnwood)

After five years working with the City of Lynnwood, Finance Director Sonja Springer will retire at the end of the year.

Earlier this week, the Lynnwood City Council issued a proclamation recognizing Springer’s service to the city and her 37 years working in finance.

“You have worked so hard for our city, for our community,” said Council President Christine Frizzell.

Springer began her career in 1983 as an accountant for the City of Seattle, ending it as budget manager for Seattle City Light. In 2000, Springer was appointed finance director for the City of Mountlake Terrace. There, she worked for 14 years before coming to Lynnwood in 2015 as the city’s director of administrative services/finance director.

Speaking during the city council’s Dec. 14 business meeting, Springer compared her career to the story about Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Springer compared working for the City of Seattle to working for a large corporation that she said was too big. Looking for a new challenge after working in Mountlake Terrace for 14 years, Springer found a job that felt just right in Lynnwood.

“I think the City of Lynnwood was the perfect place to end my career,” she said.

Under Springer’s leadership, the city received clean financial audits, awards for the precision of its annual financial reports and awards for its adopted biennial budgets. She was also a mentor to many department personnel and city leaders.

“Thank you for being so gracious and so patient,” Council President Frizzell said.

Councilmember Ian Cotton praised Springer’s work implementing the city’s Budgeting for Outcomes (BFO) method. Adopted by the council in 2015, BFO allocates budgetary dollars to specific city needs based on a results-driven model where the budget is built from collaboration between the administration, departments and council, with citizen and stakeholder input. Cotton, who was the driving force behind BFO, said Springer made the method a reality in Lynnwood.

“I, for one, am very thankful for your earnest shepherding for the BFO concepts,” he said. “You took BFO as a thing we wanted to do on council and you actually gave it legs and a whole lot more.”

Cotton added that under Springer’s leadership, everything regarding the city’s finances improved.

Springer thanked her father, who recognized her interest in math and encouraged her to study accounting.

“I took my first accounting class in 10th grade and I fell in love,” she said. ”I knew I wanted to be a CPA.”

Springer will officially retire Dec. 28.

–By Cody Sexton

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