Kelty takes helm as new Glenwood finance director
Charles Kelty was at a Colorado local government finance officers conference in November when it was announced that longtime Glenwood Springs Finance Director Mike Harman was planning to retire after 24 years in the position.
“I started talking to Mike, and he spoke very highly of the organization and the staff in Glenwood, so I thought I would pursue it,” Kelty said.
He not only pursued it, he got the job.
After nine years as the finance director for the city of Rifle, Kelty has been under the tutelage of Harman since late March. Harman officially retired Friday.
“I tried to learn everything in two weeks, but didn’t quite get to it all,” Kelty admitted, adding that Harman has made himself available to help with the transition.
Kelty, who lives in Battlement Mesa with his wife, Joy, and three kids, most recently was Rifle’s finance director since 2006, serving as the city’s chief accounting officer, including sales tax collections, overseeing a staff of five and managing that city’s $40 million budget.
Prior to that, he worked in health-care finance, including stints in various financial oversight and accounting capacities at hospitals in Craig, Lamar and Montrose.
Kelty is a 1992 graduate of Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) in Grand Junction, and earned a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Phoenix in 2005.
As head of the Glenwood Springs Finance Department, he now oversees a staff of eight and is in charge of sales tax collections and general financial management for the city, including oversight of a $58 million city budget.
As head of those functions in Rifle, Kelty said he was “most proud” of a 2013 refinance of several previous bond issues that ended up saving the city about $40,000 per year. That freed up money for the city’s street improvements fund, he said.
Among the new aspects of the Glenwood job compared with Rifle will be to learn about the financial ins and outs of having a city-owned landfill, airport and electric utility.
Kelty said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the recent upward trend in sales taxes for Glenwood Springs, Rifle and other area municipalities.
“After the recession hit, we were advised that it would be about five years before we would start to see some turnaround, and that’s just about where we are as we move through this,” he observed.
Kelty was born in San Jose, California, but moved with his family to Colorado’s Western Slope when he was 9. He attended Rifle schools from fifth through 10th grade before his family moved to Collbran, where he graduated from Plateau Valley High School.
He said he is an avid reader in his spare time, including during his lunch break when he said people can probably find him a few blocks east of City Hall at the Glenwood Springs Branch Library.
“I also do a little bit of fishing,” Kelty said. “I took my daughter out just last week and she caught her first trout. … She was pretty excited.”
The Keltys have three kids, including two sons, ages 16 and 18, and a daughter, who is 12.
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