Thursday, February 12, 2009
APS Financial Officer Resigns
By Andrea Schoellkopf
Journal Staff Writer
The chief financial officer for Albuquerque Public Schools is resigning after a year with the district.
Gina Hickman, who oversees the district's $1 billion budget, said she will become deputy director of finance and administration with the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority and will leave APS effective March 10.
Last spring, the finance department was in a "crisis situation" after a detailed audit found the district's software program was incapable of generating financial reports and the payroll system put the district at risk of not cutting its employees' checks on time. Other findings included weak internal controls and lack of qualified staff.
Independent auditor Moss Adams LLP, who was preparing the 2007-08 fiscal year audit at nearly the same time as the delayed 2006-2007 audit, told the district last month that many of the problems have been fixed.
"We've just made tons of progress," she said. "I'm proud of what we've been able to do. Getting caught up on audits, establishing appropriate processes and controls.
Superintendent Winston Brooks said about Hickman's departure, "Obviously I'm not happy about it. ... I'm disappointed we're going to lose her."
Hickman cited personal reasons, saying the APS leadership position is a difficult one for a single parent to hold.
"It's a big job," Hickman said. "I feel like I need more balance in my life. I'm a mom. It's a hard job to have when you're trying to be a responsible parent."
Hickman, who had been an auditor and controller for APS before working for the Santa Fe Public Schools and Bosque School, replaced Bill Moffatt, who resigned in July 2007 amid allegations of sexual harassment.
The job is posted on the APS Web site at $121,000 a year, requiring a bachelor's degree in a business-related field and five years' experience, three in public schools.