ALBANY -- The city has hired Tina McKennie as its new finance and administrative services director, the latest in a series of new administrators to be attracted to the city.

Penelope Leach was named city manager earlier this year, succeeding Beth Pollard, and Valerie Williams was hired last month to replace retiring schools Superintendent Marla Stephenson.

"I'm just happy to be here and have an opportunity to serve the citizens of Albany and so far everyone has been really nice," McKennie said. "I feel it has definitely the right move for me."

McKennie said the key to the job is working with city staff and the City Council.

"My concern is making sure I keep the council informed in regards to what (resources) we have available," she said. "Being conservative. Making sure that we're maximizing our grant funding -- state grants, federal grants -- making sure we keep the general fund as whole as possible and stay within our reserve policies."

McKennie, a native of Humboldt, Tenn., comes to Albany from nearby Richmond, where she worked for just over eight years as an accounting manager and chief accountant. She lives in Vacaville and has two grown children in the area.

"I'm a military brat," she said, explaining she moved with her family every year until they settled in Germany while she attended Kaiserslautern American High School. Her parents were stationed at Ramstein Air Base at the time.

"I didn't appreciate it until I got older," McKennie said of moving around and then going to high school in Germany. "I've seen the original books of the Bible, I've seen the concentration camps, I've been to Hitler's headquarters."

She tasted some foreshadowing of her future career when she won a contest in accounting and typing in Germany.

What she actually wanted to do for a career at that point was teach deaf students, in part because she had a deaf relative. However, she didn't realize that she needed to attend a special school for that and couldn't find the specialized classes at the schools she attended. So she ended up beginning a career in accounting.

McKinnie attended several schools in California and earned an associate degree from Alan Hancock College in Santa Maria. She then finished her bachelor's degree at National University in San Diego.

She worked for the California Department of Corrections and then took her first local government job with the city of Stanton in Southern California. She then moved to Bellflower as accounting manager before moving to Northern California to be closer to her family. McKinnie worked for eight years as senior accountant in Vallejo before taking the position in Richmond.

"I like it," she said of her new job in Albany, where she started on April 28. "It's a smaller city, of course. The city of Richmond has about 750 employees. It's what I was looking for."

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