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Mt. Lebanon official Taylor set to retire

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Marcia Taylor first looked over Mt. Lebanon's books as an external auditor in 1974. Five years later, she joined the municipality as its finance director, and has been employed there ever since.

Taylor, 60, plans to retire July 12, after 34 years as either Mt. Lebanon's finance director, assistant manager, or both.

“There's always something new on the end of the telephone. There's always some challenge, like incorporating the parking authority, or negotiating new contracts,” Taylor said. “My job is not repetitious, and that's been the best part of it.”

Taylor served as Mt. Lebanon's finance director until 2001, when she was promoted to assistant manager and her old job was filled by William McKain, who is now Allegheny County's manager. When McKain left in 2009, she took back her old job while continuing to work as assistant manager.

“The expectations of the Mt. Lebanon community are high, and Marcia exceeded them,” said McKain, who called her a “mentor” whose influence helped him in his career.

Taylor said she would remain active, both in Mt. Lebanon and the financial realm.

She is a Mt. Lebanon resident, sits on the board of directors for several local organizations including the Local Government Academy and the Congress of Neighboring Municipalities, and has two years remaining in her second term as a member of the national Governmental Accounting Standards Board, a nonprofit that establishes accounting and reporting standards for state and local governments.

While she may not have any parks, public buildings or police cars with her name on them, Taylor said her proudest accomplishment in Mt. Lebanon has been leaving its finances in good shape, its accounting practices constantly up to date and its books well-kept. Mt. Lebanon's budget for 2013 totals about $50 million.

“I'm very proud of the fact that in my time here, we very rarely have had any audit adjustments ... money that has to be moved from one place to another or accounted for,” she said. “I'm happy with the state of the community that I'm leaving.”

“Marcia is known across the country as one of the top experts in the field of municipal finance,” said Steve Feller, another longtime employee of the municipality.

Taylor was the auditor assigned to Mt. Lebanon when Feller was an intern in the late 1970s. He worked with her when she was finance director and he was assistant manager from 1982 to 1987. Then he returned to Mt. Lebanon as manager in 2001, with Taylor as his assistant manager.

“She has been involved in virtually every improvement project in the municipality,” Feller said. “Her exceptional leadership has improved the management of every department, function, and public improvement.”

Feller said he and the commissioners had not yet discussed how and when Taylor, whose annual salary is $121,220, will be replaced.

Marilyn Jenkins, executive director of the Allegheny County Library Association, said Taylor was a founding member of the association's board when it was formed to consolidate finances and record-keeping for dozens of independent community libraries.

Taylor, who no longer is on the board but still advises the association, helped set up the network that shares library records across the county, along with the formulae for distributing about $9 million a year in funding to 45 member libraries.

“She's still on my speed-dial, if I ever have any questions,” Jenkins said.

Taylor said she intends to use her extra time to work through a pile of books she's intended to read, and hopes to make trips to the Pittsburgh Glass Center in Friendship to practice her glass blowing.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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