Working in government is often a thankless job, but Zach Propes said he is prepared for the challenge as he takes the helm of the Hall County Finance Department this week.
“When this opportunity presented itself, I really felt strongly about pursuing it because it allows you to provide a bigger impact,” Propes said. “I wanted to make an impact on the local community.”
Propes’ predecessor, Vickie Neikirk, resigned in June following the approval of the fiscal year 2016 budget. Thursday will be his first day on the job.
Propes is not new to Hall County or local government. He attended North Hall High School, received a degree in accounting from the University of North Georgia and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University.
As a senior accountant and government audit project supervisor for the Gainesville-based accounting firm BatesCarter, Propes has been involved in recent audits of Hall County’s finances.
Seeing things from this third-party perspective, “you really get to see how everything works together,” he said.
Propes said he already has firsthand knowledge of how the finance department coordinates and works with other departments, elected officials and administration.
“I’m just excited that we already have a great team in place,” he added. “So that really reduces the pressure, in my opinion.”
Still, Propes acknowledges, there will be a slight learning curve.
He’s already been meeting with administration and finance staff, and he expects his first initiative will be getting a firmer grasp of the day-to-day procedures and operations.
“Obviously, I’m going to have to take a little time to observe and listen,” Propes said.
Nothing quite gets people so attuned to the workings of local government as how their tax dollars are being spent.
So effective communication with the public will be a huge part of Propes’ job, and it’s something he said he welcomes.
“Our goal is to provide the best stewardship of the financial resources of this county,” Propes added. “I’m a strong believer that transparency in finance is the most important item we have in local government. I encourage constituents, reporters, everyone being engaged.”