Financial guru now a county asset

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 25, 2011


ROSEVILLE — Heartfelt messages from council members and city administration were shared at a recent council meeting as Roseville prepared to say goodbye to the dedicated employee whose financial expertise has helped keep the city afloat in a turbulent economic climate.

Pete Provenzano was, until March 25, the city controller for Roseville. On March 28, he started a new job as the director of finance for the county.

County Executive Mark Hackel appointed Provenzano to the position a few months ago but the deal was made final March 24.

“He knew he wanted me to fill some sort of financial capacity, but he wasn’t exactly sure how he wanted to structure it,” Provenzano said. “Once he realized that the charter required him to have a director of finance, he asked that I be his director of finance.”

The two met a handful of times at different functions over the past year, and Provenzano says they hit it off.

“He asked if he could call on me sometime to help with his transition back in the fall.”

Provenzano said yes, and before long, he was serving on a task force Hackel, as the first Macomb County executive, implemented to develop his plan for the county.

Provenzano said he’s sad to leave Roseville, but he’s excited to start with the county.

“My career here in Roseville has been really wonderful. Everyone has been very good to be. I’m sad to leave,” he said. But the way I see it, I still get to serve Roseville, just now I’ll be doing it while I serve other communities in the county too. I think of it as … just a much bigger ship and more people, with similar problems and challenges.”

He’ll bring the skills he developed while in Roseville — namely, his knack for cutting expenses and finding creative solutions — to the county.

In his 10 years with the city, he was the face behind almost a decade of clean audits and accurate forecasts; he mastered the finite details of operation as assistant city manager; and he sat on the board for SERESA, the city’s shared dispatch with Eastpointe and St. Clair Shores.

Prior to serving in Roseville, Provenzano, 37, was an auditor for four years at Plante Moran. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Wayne State University, is a licensed CPA, and while working for the city, he earned a master’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University.

He wasn’t present at the March 22 regular City Council meeting, but his departure was the focus of council reports that night.

“I can’t say enough about Peter,” City Manager Steve Truman said. “I want to thank him for the 10 years he’s been in Roseville, for his loyalty and dedication. I always say everyone is replaceable, but some people are harder to replace than others. He’s one of them.”

Truman and Provenzano worked closely together on the city budget each spring, the development of SERESA, the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony and various other projects throughout the last decade. “One of the things I’ll miss the most is the camaraderie,” Provenzano said.

Despite his March departure, Provenzano said the city’s budget will be ready in time. “Jane Dempsey is really the number cruncher when it comes to that,” he said. “They’re in great hands with Jane; they really are.” Dempsey is not taking Provenzano’s place at this time, but according to the departing controller, she’s more than qualified to do so. “I have total confidence in her.”

The council didn’t raise any concerns over the budget or his departure at the meeting, but Councilman Robert Taylor joked, “If we need to phone a friend, he’s our guy.”

Councilman Frank Maisano said it would be tough for the city to find somebody else of his quality and caliber.

“We’re going to miss you,” Councilwoman Colleen McCartney said. “We’re going to have a hard time filling your shoes.”

Provenzano is proud of his long record of clean audit reports for the city, but he noted that for those and all the other accomplishments he’s had in Roseville, he owes a lot of thanks to his whole department. “I’m just the face. They’re all working behind the scenes to keep our forecast and budget accurate.” He was hoping to thank them with party subs, pop and chips during a March 25 lunch.

“We have done some really wonderful things for this community under some very, very trying circumstances, and we pulled them off because we’ve done them together — and not all places work together like we do here in Roseville. I’m really going to miss that.”