North Stonington looks to increase efficiency with new administration, finance officer

North Stonington — There's a new face in Town Hall in a position that's unprecedented in North Stonington.

Christine Dias has begun working as the town's first-ever administration and finance officer, a position that has been budgeted for since last November and town officials expect will increase government efficiency.

The town finance officer will be involved in budgeting, administration and just about everything outside of Planning and Zoning and the Board of Education.

"It's a great time to come into town ... very exciting things are happening and I am just excited to be part of a really great team," Dias said.

Originally from a small town in northwestern New Jersey, Dias, 33, said she was drawn to the North Stonington position because it seemed like a natural fit doing exactly the kind of work she always wanted to do.

After earning her master's degree in public administration from the University of Rhode Island back in 2008, Dias has spent the past 10 years working as a state employee at URI within the Department of Recreation. She held three different positions within the department and most recently worked as the assistant director for campus recreation, being tasked with overseeing three programs, as well as all the students and staff in those programs.

Although she loved working at URI and the relationships she built there, when Dias saw the opportunity in North Stonington she couldn't help but jump at the chance. She said the town offered exactly the type of work she always wanted to do, and the position was a perfect fit for someone interested in government but not in running for office.

"I'm not the type of person who wants to run for something, but I want to have a hand in helping to manage things," Dias said, adding that her work at URI provided her with a lot of experience working with personnel and budgeting, just in a different scope.

When not working, Dias can be found enjoying a good Stephen King book or attending a concert. She's a big fan of country music in particular, with an upcoming Jason Aldean concert circled on her calendar. She also loves to spend time outdoors, often running or going to the beach.

Living in Westerly, Dias had been to North Stonington several times before even having an interest in the job. She said that she always felt the town was a beautiful community and one reminiscent of Hackettstown, her hometown in N.J., which similarly is filled with plenty of farms, beautiful nature and a handful of schools.

More than anything, Dias says she's just excited to help the people in town. A year from now she hopes to have a really strong foundational structure about just what her position can mean to the community, and she's looking forward to using the new Open Gov software to promote transparency.

"Honestly, I just want to be an asset to the town, and since it is a new position, I feel like there's a lot that can be done with it," she said.

c.clark@theday.com

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