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County hires finance director
New position created last year
David Gruen Finance


Forsyth County government added a new official Monday to head its finance department.

David Gruen will be the first to fill the county's director of finance/controller position, which was created in 2009 but never filled.

In this position, Gruen will direct operations of the finance department and several other areas, including purchasing and risk management.

He will also oversee financial programs and activities and provide financial leadership to department directors. His annual salary will be $92,000.

Settling in this week, Gruen said he is looking forward to working with county staff.

"I am excited about this opportunity to serve the residents of Forsyth County and be a part of such a great organization," he wrote in an e-mail.

Pat Carson, the county's personnel services director, said the position is hired by and falls under the direction of the county manager and therefore does not require county commission approval.

The director of finance/controller is not under civil service protection and does not have a contract, Carson said.

County Manager Doug Derrer said in a statement that the county was pleased to welcome Gruen.

"He has the requisite education and governmental finance and accounting experience required to be successful in this position and will be an excellent addition to the county's executive leadership team," Derrer said.

Gruen has more than 20 years of government finance experience, including holding several financial positions for Charlotte County in Florida.

Most recently, he served as vice president for finance at Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa Falls.

The director of finance/controller opening had been offered to another candidate in August, who turned the job down for personal reasons.

The county's chief financial officer, Bill Thomas, resigned on April 2, and the county manager and deputy county manager have since absorbed his duties.

The CFO position, while still an existing classification, is vacant, county spokeswoman Jodi Gardner said.

Earlier this month, the commission also approved the creation of an assistant finance director classification, though Carson said the county has not advertised the position.

Jamie Payne, previously interim finance director, is serving as interim assistant finance director.