DAYTONA BEACH SHORES — When Kurt Swartzlander, 51, was appointed city manager earlier this year, one of the first tasks the former finance director faced was hiring his replacement.
Swartzlander promoted Lory Irwin, 48, from assistant finance director to finance director — she started on Saturday, June 4.
Irwin joined the city nine years ago as the accountant in the finance department and worked her way to assistant finance director in February 2017, working closely alongside Swartzlander.
Swartzlander appointed: Kurt Swartzlander to replace Michael Booker as Daytona Beach Shores city manager in July
“I’m excited about this new opportunity and believe my education and experience have prepared me well,” Irwin wrote in an email to The News-Journal. “I’ve learned a lot about fiscal management from Kurt over the past four years, and he will continue to be my mentor. We expect a smooth transition, and I’m looking forward to working with Kurt and the rest of the management team on the city’s financial soundness.”
As director, Irwin will manage the finance department, including accounts payable, accounts receivable and utility billing. She will prepare the annual financial reports; assist the city manager in preparing and monitoring the city’s annual budget; administer the city’s investment program; ensure TRIM (Truth in Millage) compliance; FEMA reporting compliance and preparation; and grant solicitation and compliance, according to a release from the city.
Irwin attended SUNY Institute of Technology in her native New York for her undergraduate and Master of Accountancy degrees.
She is a certified public accountant and a Florida-certified government finance officer. Upon relocating to Florida 11 years ago, Irwin served as a sales tax auditor for the Florida Department of Revenue and later as the accounting manager for the Council on Aging of Volusia County.
After paying off more than $10 million in debt early last year, the city is in “a good position financially,” Swartzlander said in a press release. Irwin said that the department has been running the city like a business, “using a conservative fiscal approach.”
“We recognize that our citizens and businesses are the shareholders, and we work very hard to protect their equity,” she said. “Specifically, our strategy is to control long-term liabilities and recurring expenses, to always budget for depreciation and to be careful about spending. We take that fiscal responsibility very seriously.”
Irwin added that a consistent management team and solid plans will be key to maintaining the city “on the right path with our financial position.”
“Like all governments and businesses, there are always potential challenges,” Irwin said. “We do our best to plan to future financial needs, but changes in the economy and weather emergencies can sometimes result in unexpected expenses. We are constantly keeping our eye on potential challenges and respond if and when we need to.”
Irwin is the current president of the Volusia/Flagler Chapter of the Florida Government Finance Officers Association. She is also the city’s emergency management liaison at the Volusia County EOC during emergencies.
Irwin’s annual salary will be $110,000.
Swartzlander begins as new city manager
Having worked with the city’s new finance director for the past four years, Swartzlander is confident in Irwin’s capabilities as he began his own new role in the city on Monday.
“Lory has served in a leadership role in finance for several years and has proven herself to be an excellent leader with strong skills in budgeting and financial reporting,” Swartzlander said in a press release. “She embraces Daytona Beach Shores’ conservative fiscal approach and commitment to financial excellence, and I know she will be a valuable addition to our management team.”
The City Council appointed Swartzlander as the city’s next city manager earlier this year, after Michael Booker announced his plans to retire. Booker had been in the post for 22 years — he has been in cancer treatment since 2020.
Swartzlander was originally expected to step in in July as city manager; however, Booker and his wife, who is a teacher, wanted more time off in the summer.
Swartzlander had been serving as assistant city manager for over a year. He said he plans to build on the foundation laid by Booker and the City Council over the past two decades.
Among his priorities as city manager are recruiting employees for hard-to-fill positions, advancing technology and automated services, and upgrading the sewer system in partnership with neighboring governments.
“The city is in a good position, financially,” Swartzlander said. “As leaders, we have to strike the right balance between providing the high-quality services our residents are accustomed to, planning for a rainy day with adequate reserves, and managing the budget properly to keep the tax rate low.”
Swartzlander is originally from Michigan, where he received his undergraduate degree from Kalamazoo College, then earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Stetson University in DeLand. His first government position was as an accountant for the City of Holly Hill, from 2002-05. In addition to his public experience, he has worked in the private sector in electrical contracting and food supply.
He was also a founding vice president of the Volusia/Flagler Chapter of the Florida Government Finance Officers Association.
Swartzlander’s annual salary is $153,000.
“Kurt Swartzlander has been a valued member of our management team, and the City Council and I feel fortunate to have someone with his talent, experience and dedication as our new city manager,” said Daytona Beach Shores mayor Nancy Miller. “We welcome Kurt to this new role and look forward to working with him in the years to come.”
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Daytona Beach Shores names Lory Irwin new finance director