By Taylor Boyd
A Pennsylvania native was selected as the county’s new finance officer.
It “feels like a volunteer position that you get paid for, which is a bonus,” said Lori Jones, 56.
She was selected to fill the position vacated by Donna Shough, who was named director of Human Resources.
The friendliness Jones encountered during the interview process was one of the reasons she accepted the position.
“During the interview process, every board member that was there and Geri (Hazelwood, county administrator) and Donna (Shough) were very open and friendly and outgoing, and I had a real good feeling about the people and how they talked about the people that work here and the community they work for,” Jones said.
She previously served as Treasurer for the Town of Hamilton in Loudoun County for 12 years.
“In a small town, you only have a Treasurer. You don’t have a finance person, usually,” she said, and explained that in her previous post, “I kind of did both jobs on a much smaller scale. Hopefully, I can bring the expertise I had in knowing both those positions to this position.”
In the local position, Jones said she will be responsible for “handling the county’s monthly payroll, supervising the purchasing and accounts payable functions, and working with the Treasurer’s Office. I’ll also perform financial reporting, coordinate and prepare the annual budget, assist the auditors in the annual audit, and I’ll be working with all department heads with any financial information and assistance they need.”
She said these duties are similar to her previous job, “but on a much larger scale. The Town of Hamilton only had” a little more than 500 residents, “whereas the county has 18,000-19,000. It was just a much smaller governmental unit.”
Jones said her primary goal in the new job is to make it easier for the board and public to understand the finances, “so that anyone looking at it could understand it.”
She also plans to “hopefully to make the flow of all financial information in here easier to keep track of and understand it, so it’s not as foreign when you look at it.”
She also wants to work “so this county has a less reliability on outside financial support.”
Jones said working to create a Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget with a potential new financial software package will be the biggest challenge coming up in her position. She said the CIP budget would help the county budget funds for various projects and help with stabilizing debt.
“I would be looking into initiating that because I know we have one big budget, and I know it’s preferable to have a longer outlook of about what projects are coming in and how we are going to budget over several years rather than the budget that’s right in front of you,” she said.
Jones was born and raised in Pennsylvania and moved to northern Virginia in 1987. She lived in Loudoun County until Aug. 2019 when she moved to Carroll County with her husband, a retired physician.
Jones graduated from the University of Pittsburg with a B.A. in Business Administration and received her M.A. in Accounting from George Washington University while working in D.C. in a personal financial office.
“I stopped for 15 years to raise family, and then that’s when I got my job at Town of Hamilton as Treasurer, mostly because it was close to where I lived. It was between my home and the school so that I could be there for the kids when they needed it,” she said. Jones received her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license while working for Hamilton.
“I knew eventually, I would come here” because her husband’s grandparent’s left him property in the New River area, she said.
Jones has two children and two step-children, all in their 20s, who live around the United States.
In her free time, she enjoys backpacking, hiking with the family dogs, and working around the house.