Crunching numbers through the years

POULSBO — The City of Poulsbo has seen a lot of changes over the past quarter century and, through the years, Paulette Alvarado has kept a sharp watch and even sharper pencil at the ready to ensure public money here was present and accounted for.

The Certified Municipal Finance Administrator will end her long career at City Hall this month when she retires from the city payroll.

Alvarado was hired in July 1977 under the federally-driven Comprehensive Employee Training Act, a program that provided money for city-level jobs throughout the nation. She spent six weeks in “transition” with CETA funding before being hired on with the city’s finance department and has been there ever since.

“Things have changed since the days of Clyde Caldart,” Alvarado explained, noting that Caldart was the first of five Poulsbo mayors she would serve during her quarter century at city hall. June Atack, Curt Rudolph, Mitch Mitchusson and finally Donna Jean Bruce round out the list of leaders that Alvarado has worked under since.

Even so, in the early-1980s the employees of this city were left with no mayor and just two councilmembers to guide them. The majority elected officials stepped down following an advisory election, leaving Deputy Mayor Rudolph and City Councilman Ed Jensen at the helm for a short time.

Despite the problems this caused, Alvarado was facing similar strains of a different nature in her own department.

“I discovered that Finance Director Dick Goodpasture was embezzling from the city,” she explained, a stern look crossing her usually cheerful face. “I was angry that he would do that to the City of Poulsbo.”

Alvarado reported the finding to the State Auditor but even when Goodpasture was ousted, problems he had created were left to the department, its financial records and Poulsbo in disarray for quite a while.

“We had to do long financial reports, establish some good internal controls and hire good people,” she said, adding with a smile, “Now, we win national awards.”

But after being part of a winning team for so long, the accounting manager has decided to pursue similar interests and is running for the position of Kitsap County Treasurer.

“This is my first venture into politics but I know the job and have done the job so I’m very comfortable with that,” she explained, adding that her accounting team at the City of Poulsbo earned the national Government Finance Officers Award for their Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports last year.

“I have really enjoyed working for the city — I enjoy taking care of the public’s money,” Alvarado said, noting that she wanted to continue this role for the entire county. “Treasurer is one of those behind the scenes jobs.”

When asked if she had any retirement regrets, Alvarado responded, “I won’t get to move into the new city hall.”

Also, her commute will be boosting from two minutes to about 20 or so.

“It was nice being so close to work here in Poulsbo,” she remarked. “City hall is definitely my second home and I’m going to miss all my friends and co-workers.”

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