County budget manager takes job with college
— County Budget Manager Craig Whiteford will leave his job with Cecil County government on Friday to become controller of Cecil College.
“I will miss the people I work with the most,” Whiteford said during an interview as he reflected on his more than 21 years in county government service.
But he admits he really enjoys many aspects of his number-crunching job.
“I consider myself the keeper of the past and planner for the future,” Whiteford said as he pointed
to shelves full of records he has gathered over the years. “I figured somebody needs to keep these in one place.”
In his tenure with the county, Whiteford has seen elected officials come and go, providing him with lots of memories and life lessons.
Whiteford started in January 1995 when former County Treasurer Lewis R. Jackson Jr. hired him as deputy treasurer. Three years later, Whiteford was appointed to a newly created position of budget manager under the leadership of county commissioners Nelson Bolender, Phyllis Kilby and Harry Hepbron.
“I owe a lot to them,” Whiteford said. “Some of my most satisfying memories are resolving issues on the fly, especially during the rehabilitation project at the detention center.”
He said he learned patience and how to listen to customers from his mentor, Jackson.
“Sometimes all you have to do is listen to people and guide them,” he said. “Lots of times you can do something to help.”
Whiteford chuckled a bit when he remembered patiently helping a disgruntled taxpayer count out his tax payment in small coins.
“I’m very proud of my accomplishments at the county, but I certainly didn’t do it alone,” Whiteford said, paying kudos to his wife, his coworkers, including former Treasurer Pam Howard, planning director Eric Sennstrom, finance director Winston Robinson and especially county administrator Al Wein, who has supported Whiteford every step of the way.
Whiteford is looking forward to his new job at Cecil College.
As controller, he will answer directly to Dan Thompson, vice president of finance, and will have four people who report to him. Whiteford will become the “subject matter expert” concerning finances of the college, keeping leadership informed of the financial condition at all times. He’ll be conducting the college’s accounting, auditing, budgeting and business services.
“It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” he said.
Cecil College appointed a new president last summer, appointed a new finance director and recently approved a master plan. All those changes make Whiteford anxious to get to work with in the next chapter of his life.
“This is a new challenge for me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing a part in the growth of the college and working in an education environment.”
The senior level management position Whiteford assumes at Cecil College provides him a pay raise, closer commute and it’s not far from a golf course, one of his personal passions.
“I know the county is going to be in good hands,” Whiteford said, as he gets closer to his last day in county government. “As part of the college, I won’t be far away.”