SGF Member Spotlight: Chas Ann Fadrigo

Chas Ann Fadrigo is the finance manager for the Vallejo Flood & Wastewater District in Vallejo, California.

Photo of Chas

What makes your area unique?

Vallejo is a city located in the Northern California Bay Area with a population of 122,000 and is known as a top-ranked place of diversity. We sit right in the heart of proximity to San Francisco, Sacramento, and the Napa Valley. Vallejo was founded as the first state capitol of California and named for one of its preeminent native sons, a Mexican military officer, General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. Established in 1854, Mare Island Naval Shipyard was the West Coast's first shipyard closed in 1993. Mare Island now stands as a premier location for residential, industrial, and commercial uses like Film Mare Island's production of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and the film Bumblebee.

Residents and visitors of Vallejo enjoy access to a scenic waterfront marina where they can hop on a ferry boat to San Francisco for business or leisure. Vallejo attracts many visitors to its farmer's market, Friday Art Walks, and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom theme park. The community has California State University Maritime, Touro University California, and a secondary Solano Community College campus. Vallejo is also the pride soil to MLB (CC Sabathia), NFL (CJ Anderson), and Nascar (Jeff Gordon) professionals, in addition to authors, actors, and musicians like Earl Stevens (E-40) and Gabriella Wilson (HER).

Why do you serve as a finance professional?

Serving my hometown of Vallejo has been the most rewarding personally and professionally. Before working for Vallejo Flood & Wastewater District, I worked for the City of Vallejo through its most trying years, the general fund bankruptcy. Many of the city employees, residents, and business owners did not understand how they would be impacted by the bankruptcy, and in most cases, they did not know what it meant. In that time, I developed a deep sense of responsibility by learning that we act as guardians of public funds and trust. The decisions we make as finance professionals affect the health and resiliency of the communities we serve. It's not enough to make our best decisions behind closed doors and issue required reports; our role is to maintain public trust by participating, educating, and producing translatable information relevant to their lives. I also serve as a finance professional in public service because I believe that power has become a passenger to influence. There is no greater reward than using my passion for influencing decisions worthy of public trust.

What are the challenges you think finance professionals will be facing in the near and the distant future?

Soon, we will face a recruitment and retention challenge that has now become multilayered. Accounting and Finance professionals can work in all job markets, and considering it; the government sector may not rank at the top of their lists. Employees developed a new "work norm" and learned they could stay productive and effective from home.

The "Great Resignation" adds another layer; however, it appears to be more about a great "transition" into better organizations, different fields, or new trades. The challenge of finance professionals is attracting talent to local government from a workforce with higher expectations of remote opportunities and work demands that align more with personal priorities.

Suppose public service organizations institute permanent remote or hybrid work policies. In that case, they will be best vetted by considering critical factors such as bargaining unit agreements, employee policy provisions, regulatory restrictions, operational practices, remote work ergonomic challenges, public perception of service, and maintaining a controlled environment.