Pierce County picks new budget director

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy has selected Gary Robinson, a veteran leader of Washington state agencies, as the new director of the Pierce County Budget and Finance Department.

Robinson has served in a variety of executive roles with the state since 1977, most recently as chief financial officer for the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). The County Executive noted that Robinson has a strong background in financial management, budgeting, data analysis, revenue tracking, information technology, contract monitoring and policy development.

“Gary has extensive experience in leading budget and finance operations,” Executive McCarthy said. “He is highly regarded as a leader who communicates well to ensure that timelines are met, work is accurate and goals are achieved. After reviewing 86 applicants for this crucial position, it was clear that Gary stood out with the right combination of skills and experience.”

Robinson is scheduled to begin his new role with the county on May 9. He succeeds Patrick Kenney, who retired this month after 29 years as Budget and Finance director. Robinson’s appointment will be subject to confirmation by the Pierce County Council.

As director, Robinson will oversee a department of 37 employees who are responsible for financial planning and management of revenues and expenditures. The county’s total budget for 2011 is $762 million.

Robinson’s previous experience includes serving as director and chief information officer for the state Department of Information Services and in three director positions with the Office of Financial Management, dating to 1984. He started his career in positions with the Legislature and the state Parks and Recreation Commission.

“I am excited about moving to a county government position where I can support public services that are directly connected to local communities,” Robinson said. “I look forward to working with Pierce County’s staff and leadership team to implement their shared vision, mission and goals.”

A Spokane native, Robinson earned a B.A. in political studies from Pitzer College in California and an M.A. in public administration from The Evergreen State College. He also completed the program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.