The City of Grand Island filled two new full-time positions created in this budget year: a Spanish interpreter/translator and a grants administrator.
The interpreter/translator is located in the Customer Service Department of the Public Services Building at 1306 W. Third St. The position is supported by company funds.
The Grants Administrator is located in the city’s finance department. The position is funded by the administrative costs associated with the grants.
Both positions are overseen by Deputy Chief Financial Officer Brian Schultz.
Deniss Guerrero, started last week, March 28, as the city’s Spanish language interpreter and translator, Schultz said.
Guerrero is a former employee of the Grand Island Public Schools, serving as a paraeducator and translator.
“She already has a bit of experience doing some of these things,” Schultz said.
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Among his duties, Guerrero is responsible for the preparation of all Spanish-speaking and Spanish-written materials.
“We have already made some changes so that all press releases are now issued in Spanish,” Schultz said. “We’re going to have more written materials available in person, and hopefully a lot of our PDFs and other things that historically wouldn’t have been available in Spanish.”
He added, “She’s already started running for us on some of our writing.”
This will greatly help the city’s online efforts, Schultz said.
“You can edit a website, but if there are attachments like a PDF or a spreadsheet, those things don’t necessarily always translate to Google or something like that,” he said. “We’re just trying to make ourselves more accessible to our Spanish speakers and our preppers.”
Guerrero will provide interpretation for the community and visitors to City Hall.
“I know that more and more people are discovering that she is here at City Hall, that they will also benefit from her spoken translation,” Schultz said.
Libby Finochiaro started in December as the city’s grants administrator.
Finochiaro previously worked at the Columbus East Central District Health Department and has a background in social work.
“She has a really good background with the health department where she comes from, so she gets grant compliance really well, and she has a good sense of the future of ways we can maybe do some things here,” Schultz said.
With a grants administrator, the city will be able to maximize potential funding opportunities, Schultz said.
“Our big thing at this point is to familiarize her with all of our moving parts that we have, where we are currently taking advantage of grants and opportunities and where we could better leverage them,” he said.
Finochiaro’s responsibilities are many.
“With a large portion of the federal dollars we have received from the government, she will be involved in ensuring our reporting and compliance is up to date and accurate, and in helping find grant opportunities where we don’t have any. maybe not had. staff time or people don’t have the skills to write grants in a way that when they’re competitive, we can get those grants,” Schultz said.
Taxpayers will benefit from these efforts.
“We’re trying to leverage as much of the dollars outside of our region as possible to hopefully, in the long term, alleviate property tax relief and general tax relief,” he said.
As Grants Administrator, Finochiaro will play an important role in the city’s finances and its financial future.
“We look forward to seeing what our new administration will shape after the general election and we will bring some of that to those who fill those seats and make long-term decisions for our strategic planning,” Schultz said.
Finochiaro may also be able to help support the efforts of the Grand Island Police Department.
“She sees those needs from, say, what the social workers in our area might see, that she might be able to help be a resource and collaborate with our police,” Schultz said. “Although we are currently short-staffed in the police, we will try to find ways of officers without uniform to help support them.”
Guerrero and Finochiaro are welcome additions to the city, Schultz said.
“Deniss has just started her second week here and she seems very excited and looking forward to doing whatever she can to help us, and I know Libby feels the same very strongly,” he said. “I’m excited to see what they can do for us, not only in the short term, but also for our long-term growth.”