Franklin hires interim finance director

Published 8:50 am Friday, November 13, 2009

FRANKLIN—Two days after Amber Stansbury started her new job as Franklin’s interim finance director, International Paper Co. announced that it would close the Franklin paper mill, sending shockwaves through the community — and the city’s budget.

“I was kind of thrown into the fire, so to speak,” she said. “I had to do a lot of research. Thankfully the staff was able to help me.”

Now, a few weeks after the announcement, things around the office “have somewhat calmed down,” and Stansbury said she’s getting into the normal flow of business.

“I’m enjoying it,” she said. “I’m glad to help out the city until they can get a full-time finance director.”

Stansbury and her husband, Chris, are both West Virginia natives. They moved to Franklin in 2005 and opened an optometry practice downtown.

“We moved here specifically to operate our own optometry practice,” she said. As a CPA, she handled the business side and her husband was the doctor.

Before moving to Franklin, Stansbury worked as a compliance officer for the West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement System, and she began her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a national public accounting firm.

“We absolutely love Franklin,” she said. “Everyone just welcomed us.”

Following the birth of their son, Grant, in 2007, Stansbury said she and her husband decided that they should be closer to their family. They sold their optometry practice earlier this year.

“It was a very hard decision for us to make to sell the practice,” she said. “We just really felt a need to get back closer to home and we’re still in the process.”

Stansbury said she found out about the job opening through Councilman Benny Burgess.

“I’m very impressed with her abilities and when this position opened up, I just felt like she would be a natural,” Burgess said.

Stansbury met with city officials and was offered the job on a part-time basis, spending about 15 hours a week in the office.

“I was ready to come back to work,” she said. “They just needed someone to step in very quickly, and I’m just glad to be able to do that.”

City Manager June Fleming said Stansbury came in “at an unpredictably busy time” for the department, but she is adjusting well.

“I have nothing but high praises for what she’s been able to accomplish,” Fleming said.

Brian Stump, Stansbury’s predecessor, abruptly resigned on Oct. 9 after being on the job for about eight months to take a job closer to his home and family in Newport News. The transition has been smooth, according to Stansbury.

“The staff here in the finance department is excellent,” she said. “They had picked up a lot of the day-to-day duties.”

While she’s enjoying her job, Stansbury and her husband are still gradually trying to make their way west.

“My husband’s working in Richmond right now,” she said. “We’re hoping that something will eventually open up back in West Virginia for us to be able to move back there to be close to the grandparents.”

Fleming said the application period for a permanent finance director ends today, and she and Human Resources Manager Carolyn Joyner will begin looking at applications soon.