Since the death of former Director of Administrative Services Doug Bradley in 2017, the position of Chief Financial Officer for the Town of Imperial Beach has been vacant. City Manager Andy Hall and Deputy City Manager Erika Cortez and staff did the acting work and consultants were also hired.
Two months ago, the position was filled with the arrival of Joann Gitmed as CFO. She was recruited by Cortez while working with the consultancy firm hired by the city. Due to the pandemic, Gitmed worked for a month at home and for a month from the town hall.
Gitmed, who was born and raised in Orange County, studied economics with a major in accounting at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Gitmed said she fell into government accounting when she was hired by the town of Big Bear Lake. Her career has taken her to work in other cities including Diamond Bar, Yorba Linda Water District, City of Eastvale and La Puente.
Gitmed is happy to have joined the staff of the City of Imperial Beach. “I love the staff and the people. They are such a wonderful team, ”she said of her colleagues.
Prior to being hired by Imperial Beach, Gitmed had worked for the consulting firm hired by the City of Imperial Beach for eight months. “I was fortunate enough to see what the situation was… there was a lack of leadership because accounting is a niche niche and not black and white,” she said.
During the board meetings, certain elements of the budget had not been properly followed. How certain items are categorized is a specialty in itself and with regular monitoring a CFO would have understood it immediately.
“It was a challenge in that regard,” she said. “There are still things to look at. But it’s the pleasure of the job, I like to roll up my sleeves and dig.
Gitmed is a career-oriented professional who has accumulated over 25 years of experience in government accounting, taking only free time to raise her two children, now adults. She is also an outdoors person. “I love being so close to the beach, I love playing golf and anything that gets me out there. I was an avid softball player, ”she said.
Gitmed admits that she has always been a math type person. She appreciated the accounting course she took in high school which led her to continue in the field. “I couldn’t tell you what attracted me. The numbers add up. I like knowing that they are a constant. Government accounting is fun. I have all these different sources of funding, [I like] how to be creative, find sources of funding, ”she explained.
When working as a consultant for a company based in Rancho Cucamonga, Gitmed came to Imperial Beach once or twice a month. “I was afraid to work for a city again, but I fell in love with the staff and the city,” she said.
Gitmed was hired shortly before the lockdown and then she was told ‘don’t bother getting in, we just got into the lockdown’. She still hasn’t had the chance to meet some of the staff face-to-face since many meetings are held via zoom. Its staff consists of five full-time employees and one part-time employee. “I can’t wait to see and interact with my staff, to develop a relationship with them,” she said. “I am a very face to face person and prefer contact with people, reading body language and expressions.”
Even though she thought she no longer wanted to work for a government, during her tenure as a consultant, she became convinced that Imperial Beach was the right fit for her. “As I got to know the area and the people, I felt that I couldn’t push any further. I felt it was the right choice and the place to spend time in my career. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I have worked for the government for over 25 years, ”she said.