Preston's new finance director on the job

Preston - Greg Schuyler, a Groton native who earned an accounting degree in Florida and returned to the region to work as an auditor of municipal books, started a new position last week as Preston's joint town and school finance director.

Schuyler, 31, who lives in Groton, was selected from 60 initial candidates and eight finalists to become the town's second joint finance director. He will earn $90,000 per year with a contract that runs through June 30, 2016. Schuyler will spend 80 percent of his time working in the school system and 20 percent on town government finances.

The position was created in 2011 and Robert Sirpenski was hired in September of that year. Sirpenski left Preston several months ago to become the Waterford finance director. Sirpenski returned for a time last Tuesday to assist Schuyler during his first day on the job.

Schuyler spent 5 years working for O'Connor Davies LLP, formerly Marien & Co. in Norwich, doing municipal audits of local towns including Sprague and North Stonington. For the past 2 years, he has worked as a senior accountant for Rhodes Technology, a pharmaceutical firm in Coventry, R.I.

Schuyler graduated from Fitch High School in 2000 and Three Rivers Community College in 2002. He then earned his bachelor's degree in accounting at St. Leo University in Florida.

Schuyler said he was interested in the Preston position because he wanted to work on the public side of financing, helping to keep residents' taxes down and keep the town's finances efficient.

"It's exciting," he said. "It's obviously a position a lot of people were going after. I have a lot to learn, but I think my background will help me in a smooth transition."

The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education conducted the search, which yielded more than 60 applications. A committee with two members each from the boards of education, finance and selectmen reviewed the top eight candidate applications and recommended two finalists to First Selectman Robert Congdon, Superintendent John Welch and Board of Finance Chairman Jerry Grabarek to be interviewed.

Congdon said Wednesday that Schuyler was the unanimous choice by both the review committee and the final interview team.

"He's a young guy, very well qualified," Congdon said. "His auditing background gives him good experience and qualifications for the position."

Congdon said Schuyler's knowledge of auditing grants along with his time handling private industry finances gave him "well rounded" experience for the town position.

Board of Finance member Kenneth Zachem, who served on the initial review team, said he liked Schuyler's desire to work with a team and his ability to help others learn how to solve problems.

"We had all good candidates," Zachem said. "I liked him because he was team player."

c.bessette@theday.com

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