STURGIS — Longtime Sturgis Finance Officer Fay Bueno has been named Finance Officer of the Year in South Dakota by the South Dakota Municipal League.

Her nomination came from co-workers, her staff and Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie.

“There are many great finance officers in this state. I’m honored to be chosen,” Bueno said.

It’s especially meaningful that the nomination came from those people she works with every day, she said.

In addition to being an exemplary financial manager for the city, Bueno is a wonderful advocate for the city of Sturgis, the nomination letter said.

“She is a competent, capable, and knowledgeable finance officer,” nominators wrote.

Born and raised in the Black Hills, Bueno earned an accounting degree from Black Hills State University. She spent almost 15 years in the private sector before starting her municipal career as city finance officer for Whitewood. She held that position for 11 years.

Bueno, who is responsible for Sturgis’s $21 million budget and all the corresponding financial controls, was hired as the city finance officer for Sturgis in 2007. She has seen a lot of changes over the years both in personnel and technology used in her department.

She served through a change of government from mayor/aldermanic to city manager form of government, and was also influential in the first transition between city managers.

Ainslie said Bueno was instrumental in shepherding the city from a financial software system that no longer met the city’s needs to an enterprise-wide product that allows department heads and staff real time access to financial data.

“This included the integration of all utility bill pay into the finance office function, which will eventually save the city the cost of two FTEs,” he said.

Bueno worked with the city’s credit card vendor to pay as many city claims as possible using city credit cards, generating $25,000 in new revenue each year.

Additionally, she has instituted a laddered CD investment strategy that has netted the city an additional $40,000 annually, implemented better Sturgis Liquor Store inventory controls and made available an online bill pay system for all of the city’s utility billing accounts.

Bueno currently serves as chairperson of the Sturgis United Way Board, she lends her knowledge to students with visits to BHSU accounting classes to teach about governmental accounting and also serves as a mentor to other finance officers through the Black Hills Area Finance Officers Association.

Those who nominated her said that Bueno is a wonderful and devoted wife, mother and grandmother, she loves her dogs, is an avid gardener and makes a mean salsa.

“Fay is just an awesome person,” they said.

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