The city of White Salmon, seeking oversight of its budget and finances, has turned to a familiar source for help: Kelly Ingraham.
Ingraham served as White Salmon's clerk/treasurer for 10 years until she resigned to take another job at the end of February this year. She will be paid $50 an hour, eight hours per week, to make sure the city's finances are in order and the budget is balanced.
"She'll come in every Friday," explained Mayor Linda Jones. "She'll do oversight of the budget until we get someone on board."
The city has been advertising for a new clerk/treasurer since early March, but has yet to find a suitable candidate.
Penny White Morris, one of the members of the White Salmon City Council, questioned the dollar amount the city was offering for Ingraham's services. Morris said she thought Ingraham had earlier agreed to work for $40 an hour.
Mayor Jones said Ingraham originally accepted $40 an hour to do the work. However, when she read in the newspaper that the city was offering to pay $60 an hour to Steven Everroad, a certified public accountant (CPA) from Hood River, Ingraham asked for more.
"She agreed to $40 an hour until she saw this article in the newspaper," Jones said. "She was offended we were paying her less."
Council member Richard Marx questioned the arrangement. He pointed out that Ingraham referred to the city's "financial circumstances" two times in her resignation letter.
"It says in the new contract that she will get the city back current and balanced," Marx said. "As of our last meeting, we were told it already was."
Marx requested that Ingraham attend the next quarterly budget meeting, set for late July.
"I'd like her here so I could ask her some questions," Marx said.
Jones said the city needs financial oversight.
"It's most logical she (Ingraham) would be the one. She's handled it before," Jones explained. "I'm much more comfortable hiring Kelly. She knows the job. She's just making sure we're on the right track."
Jones added that it will be "a month at the earliest" before a permanent employee can be hired to handle the city's financial and budget work.
After the discussion, members of the City Council voted 5-0 to approve the contract with Ingraham.