Member Spotlight: Courtney Sladek, CGFO, ICMA-CM
City Manager, City of El Campo, Texas
What makes your area unique?
El Campo is a rural community with a population of 11,600 located approximately one hour southwest of Houston, Texas. Houston is experiencing urban sprawl, and the suburbs are pushing further east, west, north, and south. As a result, we have seen a lot of interest in our city for development. We are proud to have the world's largest recreational vehicle park's swimming pool. This attracts thousands of visitors to our area each year. As an agriculturally based community, our county is one of the largest rice-producing counties in the country. We are recognized as both a Scenic City and a Certified Retirement Community by the State of Texas Department of Agriculture. The City of El Campo has prioritized maintaining the small-town charm while providing quality services to our citizens.
Why do you serve as a finance professional?
There is no greater connection to my community than serving it every day. I'm grateful that my work holds meaning and provides critical service and infrastructure to our citizens. I see it in all things, from the paramedics saving lives, to the parks, to the fire hydrants. There is nothing more rewarding than to know that my work contributed to the greater good of this amazing city I call home. Every day I have an opportunity to make this city a little better.
What are the challenges you think finance professionals will be facing in the near future or the distant future?
Recruitment across all levels of government is a struggle and will continue to remain an obstacle as we move into the future. Retention is also a focus for many of us in administrative positions in local government. The loss of our talent to the higher-paying jobs of the private sector is always on our minds. Distrust in government by citizens and those elected has made our jobs even more challenging, often adding requirements and notifications that can be at best, informative, and at worst, confuse our voters. The good news is that there are opportunities to allow us to educate the public on how we use their funds to meet the goals and the needs of our cities.