Posted Online: April 29, 2012, 10:58 pm

R.I. finance director wants to make this job her last

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By Bill Mayeroff,

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Photo: John Greenwood
Cindy Parchert became Rock Island's finance director in January and already has settled into the position.
Cindy Parchert always has had a knack for numbers.

When she was growing up in Orion, her father owned a trucking company. Ms. Parchert said she'd tag along when he went to work on weekends and count the coins people used to buy sodas.

"I would always take out all the pop money and count it," she said. "I would sit there and count it."

That love of counting and numbers turned into a career for Ms. Parchert, who took over as Rock Island's finance director in January. She said she always wanted to become a certified public accountant so she could work for her father's business, but he sold it before she could.

When she started in January, it was actually the beginning of Ms. Parchert's second stint with the city of Rock Island. She worked there as an accountant for 11 years but left in 2000 to work as a controller for the CPA firm McGladrey and Pullen.

"I left here for more money so I could help pay for my stepkids' college," she said.

She loved working at McGladrey, she said.

"To be a controller at a publicly traded company is the dream," she said. "Everything that you're taught as an accountant is geared toward those big, publicly traded companies."

After getting laid off from McGladrey, she became the controller at WQAD before she came back to the city of Rock Island. She replaces longtime finance director Bill Scott.

Ms. Parchert's life is more than just numbers. Off the clock, she said she loves to sew window treatments and even offered to make drapes for the offices of Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley and city manager Thomas Thomas. She also enjoys working in her garden.

"I love gardening," she said. "I like to get outside and weed the garden. It's a great sense of accomplishment when you're done weeding."

Ms. Parchert is looking forward to starting a garden at the house in Rock Island that she and her husband, Rich, bought in January. They and their 4-year-old Cairn terrier Dee Dee will move in when renovations are completed, she said.

"I'm anxious to plant flowers in my yard," she said.

The new house doesn't mean she and her husband are giving up their current residence in Taylor Ridge. Ms. Parchert said they plan to keep it as their "country home."

Ms. Parchert said she and her husband met each other in an unorthodox way -- through his former wife, with whom she was acquainted. One night, she said, she ran into Mr. Parchert while she was out with friends.

"He came over and said, 'I'm getting a divorce,'" she said. "Inside I'm thinking, 'Hot damn.'"

Though she never wanted to move away from the Quad-Cities, Ms. Parchert does love to travel, mostly within the United States. She said Alaska is one of her favorite travel destinations.

"It's very beautiful," she said. "That was probably my best vacation ever. I went in the winter time. We saw the Iditarod."

While she's only been finance director for about three and a half months, Ms. Parchert said a lot has been accomplished, including the passing of a balanced budget and changing the way the city does utility billing to allow residents to pay in installments.

There's still much work to be done, she said.

"The city of Rock Island has lots of challenges," she said. "There's never enough funds."

Ms. Parchert said that, while she's had a lot of different jobs, she wants this one to be her last.

"I always said I wanted Bill (Scott's) job when he left," she said. "This is where I want to end my career."

Meet Cindy Parchert

  • Hometown: Orion
  • Residence: Taylor Ridge, but she and her husband bought a house in Rock Island in January that they are renovating.
  • College: Graduated from Augustana  with a degree in accounting and business. Also has her MBA from St. Ambrose. 
  • Children: Two grown stepchildren -- Erin and Lincoln.
  • Husband: Rich. They were married in 1998. 
  • Pets: Dee Dee, a 4-year-old Cairn terrier. 
  • Hobbies: Gardening and traveling.