Marion resident chosen for finance director job

Sep 28, 2023

MARION — Following hour-long interviews with three candidates last week, the Marion Select Board unanimously voted to hire Marion resident Heather O’Brien as the town’s new Finance Director on Thursday, Sept. 28. 

“She has far and away more experience than any [other candidates],” said Marion Select Board member Norm Hills. “I think that [O’Brien] should be the recognized choice.”

O’Brien currently works as the assistant director of finance, financial analysis and planning at Ernst and Young, a business management and consultancy company. 

If she accepts the job offer presented by the board, she will replace long-time Marion Finance Director Judy Mooney, who announced her retirement in August. 

During her Sept. 22 interview, O’Brien said she applied for this position because “is an opportunity to pivot a little, stay in finance, and be a part of the community we’re living in.”

She described her style of management as “collaborative.”

“I like to make sure that everyone has a seat at the table, that they belong to the team and that they have a voice, [I] make them feel like they don’t have to be afraid to speak their mind,” she said. “I will support and represent them the best I can.”

O’Brien said her greatest strength was “relationship building,” but noted she can have a hard time stepping away from her work.

“I’m very willing to roll up my sleeves and work long hours,” she said, noting that she has had difficulty “actually being aware of that and knowing there has to be some kind of balance,” she said.

According to Marion Select Board member Randy Parker, O’Brien “stands out from the rest,” noting that all three candidates were “pretty well matched.”

“We had three great candidates and I applaud the committee for bringing them to us, it doesn’t always happen that way,” said Parker.

During the interview process, the Select Board filled out a scoring rubric for each candidate to help determine the best person for the role.

According to Marion Town Administrator Geoff Gorman, O’Brien’s rubric won out by one tenth of a point.

The Select Board also interviewed Tom Valadao, a Marion resident and Boston manager of audit projects at Broniec Associates, Inc., and Jack MacDonald, assistant vice president of administration and finance at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

“I went back and looked over the tapes of the interviews and came to the conclusion that she was the one with the most experience and has had the most job consistency working for one company over many years,” said Marion Select Board Chair Toby Burr.

According to Gorman, he has “called [O’Brien] and informed her of the good news.” He added that upon acceptance, her tentative start date is Monday, Oct. 16.