Financial leader leaves the roost

Director of Financial Services retires this month after 28 years on the job

Patricia Walker retires as Director of Financial Services for Oak Bay on Jan. 31 after 28 years working for the municipality.

An adding machine sits on the desk of the financial leader’s office at Oak Bay municipal hall.

Patricia Walker jokes she’s a bit “old school” like that. She uses an adding machine, loves binders and has papers everywhere. The machine will likely go too once she retires Jan. 31.

“Patricia has been a stalwart in guiding the affairs of the district for over two decades,” said Mayor Nils Jensen. “She’s been a model employee throughout. Her loyalty, diligence and energy will be dearly missed.”

Walker started as deputy treasurer on July 27, 1987, coming from a job with the province, climbing into the municipal treasurer’s seat three years later.

“I always joke I got the job because of the accent, but they kept me on,” she said in her south London lilt.

She’ll retire from the position recently renamed Director of Financial Services.

“The biggest changes are technology,” she said of her 28-year stint. “When I started, the room next to (my office) was the computer room,” she said. A computer and printer took up the whole room, and everyone shared.

Though as deputy treasurer in her early years, she did get some quality time with the bulky dot-matrix printer they called “the shake, rattle and roll,” a name Walker admits they may have borrowed from Esquimalt who had the same machine.

“The deputy treasurer was responsible for nursing the printer overnight,” Walker said.

As a shared resource, the finance department couldn’t tie up the machine all day printing tax notices. They started the lengthy print job at 4 p.m. and it often ran into the wee hours of the morning, feeding paper and fixing jams.

These days they have multiple machines that scan, print and fax.

Over her nearly three decades the role of the finance department hasn’t changed all that much, but it has expanded some, as all the departments work more closely together.

“The finance department, we’re obviously performing a service to the community, but we’re also performing a service to the other departments, making sure they have the information they need to do their jobs.”

One of the many things Walker looks forward to after 28 years tackling the books for Oak Bay is a spring holiday. “Because the financial year is the way it is I haven’t been able to travel January to June,” Walker said. So she plans to spring a trip on her husband, to see the tulips in Holland. Gardening, books, walking and even some trips to Oak Bay Rec are also on the leisurely agenda.

“I probably have two years worth of Downton Abbey to watch before I get into this year’s,” she said with a chuckle.

Again a bit old school, Walker’s prepared a binder filled with Oak Bay insider info for her replacement Debbie Carter.

“I live in the community so I’m expecting phone calls,” Walker said. “I’ll be around.”

Carter assumes the role of Director of Financial Services for the district of Oak Bay this month. Carter was Executive Director Corporate Finance and Senior Financial Officer with the Ministry of Human Services with the Province of Alberta. Prior to that, she held positions as Chief Financial Officer with the City of Leduc, District of Sooke and served as Manager of Customer Services and Administration with the Capital Regional District.

Retirement, as it so often is, is bittersweet for Walker.

“I work with a great bunch of people,”  she said. “People work hard here and everybody tries to do the best job they can. I’m proud of them.”

 

Just Posted

Trial date delayed in case of slain Oak Bay sisters

Case of Andrew Berry, charged in deaths of daughters, will reconvene in three weeks

GALLERY: Snow Day in Oak Bay

Giant snowmen, tobogganing, and a quiet golf course

BC SPCA proposes fines for animal mistreatment, reduction in commercial trade

Animal welfare group’s ideas brought to Victoria councillors

Duncan family says care home switched mom’s cat with robot cat

Staff alleged to have said they were taking cat for bath, then replaced her with robotic stuffed toy

New Victoria graving dock will offer high-paying jobs

New facility will reuse and treat any water required for repair process

GALLERY: Snow Day in Oak Bay

Giant snowmen, tobogganing, and a quiet golf course

Suspect and Mountie bitten by police dog during arrest near Nanaimo

Two suspects were arrested in connection with a stolen pickup truck in Cassidy on Thursday evening

B.C. ski cross racer wins Olympic gold

Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

All aboard! Job fair ports this weekend in Victoria

Find out about the hundreds of jobs in Victoria’s cruise ship industry

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Sooke mom hopeful for funding to treat child’s debilitating arthritis

Jillian Lanthier ‘prays’ for $19,000 per-dose drug for her son

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Human remains found near Campbell River

Human remains were found in a rural area outside Campbell River, RCMP… Continue reading

Most Read