There were cheers and tears for outgoing Mountlake Terrace Finance Director Sonja Springer during Thursday’s City Council meeting.
After 14 and a half years with the City, Springer is leaving to become Finance Director for the City of Lynnwood. She starts her new position on Monday.
Springer gave her final financial report on the first quarter to the Council and then was presented a plaque of appreciation by City Manager Arlene Fisher, who said that words such as honesty and integrity describe who Springer is.
“I’ve been in this business a long time and Sonja is one of the best folks I have ever worked with,” Fisher said. “She will be so missed.”
Clerk Clerk Virginia Olsen, who started working for the City eight months after Springer, described her friend as trustworthy.
“Of all the people I’ve worked with in my government career, I can’t say that anybody is more honest and trustworthy than you,” Olsen said. “You’re always looking after the City as if it’s your own checkbook. … You are a consummate professional. Lynnwood is very lucky to have you.”
Assistant City Manager Scott Hugill described the close relationship Springer has with her employees.
“She’s a supervisor, who her employees love dearly,” Hugill said. “She treats them with respect. She makes them feel valued. She’s always challenging them.”
In all the years, he’s worked with Springer he had never heard one of employees say a bad word about her.
“Never in 14, 15 years,” Hugill said.
Hugill can’t begin to count the number of times he’s received an email from Springer after 10 p.m.
“She knows the numbers,” Hugill added. “There is nobody I would trust more with our budget …. When an issue comes up, she comes up with options.”
Mayor Jerry Smith agreed that Springer made the budget easy for the Council.
“You’ve been a pleasure to work with,” Smith said.
“Your replacement has huge shoes to fill,” Councilmember Bryan Wahl said.
Springer likely will be spending the weekend, putting the finishing touches on the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and she pledged to help the City find and also train a new Finance Director. Springer said she wasn’t really looking for a new job but then indirectly was contacted about the Lynnwood position. She eventually decided she was ready for another challenge and the opportunity to help another city.
“Thank you for having me here the past 14 and a half years. I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve learned a lot,” Springer said. “I have an excellent staff. I’ve had the same staff since I’ve been here. A good stable staff makes a difference. You’re a great Council. I really am going to miss of you.”
– By David Pan