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Emphasis on learning adds up for new City Treasurer

By Rebecca Zuill

Behind the scenes, the Corporation of Hamilton is undergoing real change — and it is change its staff are excited about.

With a new treasurer at the helm, several staff members have been promoted and have new duties and responsibilities.

Heading the roster is Tanya Iris, the second female treasurer the Corporation of Hamilton has had to date.

She is responsible for running the finance department and overseeing a staff of eight.

Ms Iris reached the top position after gaining her qualifications as a mature student. She had begun her working life on the front desk, working for the Bermuda Commercial Bank and then going to Bermuda Forwarders.

“But I also had a desire to go back to school,” she said.

It meant two years at the Bermuda College and then another two years at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, where she was awarded a bachelor's degree in business administration.

“I went back as mature student — I was in my mid-20s when I went to university.”

Being a mature student in a world of teenagers was made easier by her housing arrangements. “I was placed in a dorm (residence) for mature students, and I was living with 12 mature ladies. So I was able to survive!

“I came back and worked for Gray & Kempe, which is now PricewaterhouseCoopers.” After three years of gaining experience there she wrote her professional accountancy examinations. With pride, she said: “I passed the first time!”

With her newly minted Certified Public Accountant qualifications under her belt she went on to the Bank of NT Butterfield, and then to Bacardi International. “They purchased the Grey Goose vodka label while I was there — it was a premier line for them.

“Then, I got the opportunity to work at a start-up, at Tyco Electronics, a spin-off from Tyco International. I was there for two years, and then Tyco moved to Switzerland. It had been a new start-up, though, and there were lots of processes we had to put in place — a lot of what Tyco International had in place, and put we put in our own systems as well.

“The opportunity came to go to the Corporation of Hamilton, and I have been there as deputy treasurer for three years.”

Ms Iris was in the unusual position of being aware that the top job would be available, from the time she was hired. “When I interviewed for the job, I was told the treasurer would be retiring in a couple of years so I knew there was an opportunity to move up.

“I tried to learn as much as I could from Gary Edwards, the treasurer — he retired as of June 30, and I took over the position.

“I'm just getting into the role. And with my promotion, we also promoted three other individuals.

“Everyone is learning — and everyone is excited about learning something new and taking on new responsibilities.”

The Corporation's tax administrator has also just retired, so the change was a double one. “We knew they were both going to retire, but we didn't expect it at the same time! But we've got a new tax administrator, and we've got a great staff.”

While the public does not see the work that is being done behind the scenes, they do see the results. “What the public see from us is ‘demand' notices for their taxes!” she said. “But the taxes are used to pay for trash collection, the costs of the wharf, street cleaning and so on.

Ms Iris said she has some clear goals as treasurer. “I want to look at our processes and to see where we can make things more efficient.

“Collecting taxes is something we need to focus much more on. We need to vigorously pursue them and get taxes up to date,” she said.

“Our taxes are used to run the city.”

The Corporation of Hamilton's new treasurer Tanya Iris (Photo by Glenn Tucker)

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Published August 15, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated August 14, 2013 at 7:13 pm)

Emphasis on learning adds up for new City Treasurer

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