By Mike Allen
October 28, 2022 (Santee) - Tim McDermott has seen the good times and the bad times overseeing budgets for the city of Santee over the past 21 years, and now he’s presumably enjoying the best of times in retirement.
The former finance director and treasurer was publicly recognized for his astute management, cooperative spirit, and dedication Oct. 26 at the most recent City Council meeting.
McDermott retired Sept. 22 after serving as the city’s top finance man, starting in 2001. He is succeeded by Heather Jennings, the city’s former finance manager.
“There’s been some good times and some challenging times,” McDermott said after listening to Mayor John Minto rattle off a list of his accomplishments and good-natured jibes that included the use of “bean counter.”
Councilman Rob McNelis called McDermott “the Jiminy Cricket of the city of Santee.” He went on to say that McDermott had the uncanny ability to sense when the Council wasn’t understanding something, and change things up so everyone could grasp it.
“You have been an amazing mentor to me, and the most incredible leader I’ve met in my entire life,” McNelis said.
Vice Mayor Ronn Hall noted McDermott was always willing to sit down and spend time to get a clearer picture of financial matters. Councilwoman Laura Koval noted McDermott’s incredible ability to recall exact numbers. “He not only knows his department’s budget, he knows every department’s budget….It was a pleasure to work with you…We will miss you.”
Fire Chief John Garlow said whenever he asked for items for the Santee firefighters, McDermott always asked if it was something that was wanted or something that was needed. When told it was needed, McDermott went out of his way to ensure the funding was found for the purchases, Garlow said.
“The things that you were able to find money for have made a difference in this community,” he told McDermott.
McDermott oversaw a General Fund budget of about $54 million for Santee, a city of about 60,000 residents. As shown in compensation records provided by the city to Transparent California, he earned a total compensation package of $279,000 in 2021.