New city finance director looks forward to opportunities in Whitefish

Of all the things Lanie Gospodarek is looking forward to in her new job as the finance director for the City of Whitefish, growing a tomato sparks the most joy.

In a staff meeting earlier this month, when Public Works Director Craig Workman mentioned that a project was expected to be finished in May, Gospodarek was surprised and had to ask if the snow would be gone by then. She is accustomed to living at 6,600 feet elevation in West Yellowstone, Montana.

“It’s nice to move to a place that has spring,” she said. “I’m looking forward to growing a tomato!”

Gospodarek has worked in local government for 20 years in West Yellowstone, serving as the town’s finance director for the last 15 years. Whitefish and West Yellowstone are both Montana towns that are located near national parks and they each have a resort tax, similarities that helped make her move feel more comfortable.

“I knew that Dana (Smith) had been finance director and I was hoping and looking forward to working for someone who was really strong on the finance side of municipal government because then I knew I was going to learn something,” she said of Whitefish’s current City Manager. “She’s really good at finance… so it took a lot of the scary out of making the decision to come here.”

Gospodarek has been earning her Master of Public Administration and has about four classes remaining. The coursework…

Read more…