Brownlee begins work as West Fargo auditor
Jim Brownlee began working as West Fargo city auditor Tuesday, but he's no stranger to City Hall. For 17 years Brownlee audited West Fargo's budget while working for the North Dakota state auditor's office. Now he'll serve as the city's chief fin...
Jim Brownlee began working as West Fargo city auditor Tuesday, but he's no stranger to City Hall.
For 17 years Brownlee audited West Fargo's budget while working for the North Dakota state auditor's office.
Now he'll serve as the city's chief financial officer, replacing longtime auditor Mike McLeod, who died in early March.
Mayor Rich Mattern said Brownlee was chosen from about 16 qualified applicants.
"He just had the political experience, the accounting experience," Mattern said. "He had everything."
Brownlee, who lives in north Fargo, most recently commuted to Grand Forks, N.D., where he worked as county auditor. He worked for the state auditor's office from 1985 to 2002.
One of Brownlee's challenges will be following the well-respected McLeod.
"You don't replace Mike McLeod," Brownlee said. "I think he knew every fire hydrant in the city."
Although Deputy Auditor Sharon Schacher worked with McLeod since she took the position in 1976, she said she's looking forward to Brownlee's new ideas.
"Change is hard, but change is good," Schacher said. "He's going to be an asset to the city."
Even though Brownlee officially took on his title last week, he attended the past few City Commission meetings and has been in close contact with city officials, Schacher said.
Brownlee is coming into the auditor position just in time to begin the budgeting process. He said as West Fargo continues to grow, his job will remain interesting and challenging.
"I think it (West Fargo) is going to continue to be one of the fastest growing cities in the state," Brownlee said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590