Editor’s note: Our series, “Wheeling@Work,” is an effort to provide readers with insight and information into our city government, highlighting the personalities, programs and processes at work within the City of Wheeling. Today’s story features Seth McIntyre, the city’s finance director.
Sometimes an opportunity has to come around twice before we realize it’s for us. In those rare moments when it does, the wise among us recognize that tug from beyond, a gut-level feeling, that subtle whisper that says, “Go for it.”
So the second time that Seth McIntyre noticed the position of city finance director was up for grabs, he went for it.
“I saw, maybe in 2015, an ad for the position here. I thought about it and kicked it around in my mind, and decided I wasn’t sure I wanted to pursue it and so I didn’t,” he recalled. “About a year later, it came around again, and I thought maybe I’d take a closer look, and that’s what brought me here in mid-spring of 2016.”
MONEY IN, MONEY OUT
Now part of an office where he’s one of a handful of specialists who, he estimates, bring more than 100 years of expertise to their work, McIntyre said managing the City of Wheeling’s finances comes down to two basic ideas.
“It’s managing the inflows of the public resources that come in and managing effectively the outflow of those resources. Everything sort of rotates around those two very basic premises of proper responsible care and management of public money,” he said.
The longer description of that role involves maintaining a standardized accounting system across all city departments, making and accepting payments, and collecting taxes and fees. It might sound routine, but McIntyre said each day in the office is anything but boring.
“I’m not sure I’ve seen a typical day here,” he said. “Every day has a challenge or two that we haven’t dealt with before. Something we didn’t anticipate addressing.”
When those moments come, McIntyre said it’s there that the finance team starts to shine through their individual strengths.
“Besides me, there [are] six specialists on staff full time, each of those individuals has been with the city for longer than I have. Each of them generally has a piece or pieces of this operation that are their bailiwick or specialty, and yet there’s an interaction among all of us. All of us work regularly, day-by-day and hour-by-hour together. We rely upon one another a good bit to address things that need to be addressed,” he said.
“The thing about money is that it touches everything, and our staff is not just receiving money at the front counter or in the mail and putting it in the bank. They’re not just receiving invoices. They’ve got to have some awareness of everything else that that money touches, whether it’s payroll or the different departments, or our retirees.”
Prior to coming to work for the city, McIntyre spent nearly two decades working at Oglebay Institute as treasurer and chief financial officer. With a degree in business management from West Liberty University, McIntyre attained his accreditation as a Certified Public Accountant just before his years at OI.
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Though he says working in the public sector differs from the world of nonprofits, his education prepared him for anything.
“I like that in a lot of ways accounting is accounting. But in a lot of ways, the opposite can also be said in that there are those different things that you don’t have to think about outside the public sector,” McIntyre said.
“The sheer volume of data and information that has to be dealt with and thought about and accounted for is not like anything I ever dealt with or was involved with before. That probably, aside from the people, is the piece that really holds my attention. The systems and the infrastructure that have to be maintained and effectively operated that exist to support this behemoth is fascinating.”
PRICELESS FAMILY TIME
Outside of the office, McIntyre and his wife Michele make their home in Moundsville. They’re the parents of daughters Kathleen, Heather, Brenna and Riley, and grandparents to Lindy, Jase and Adam. As the girls have gotten older and begun to move on with their own lives, McIntyre says he and Michele relish the moments when they can all be together.
“One is married and on her own. Two are off at school, one pursuing a law degree, and one in Morgantown. They’re gone most of the time,” he said of his daughters. “Our youngest is 16 and has her driver’s license and is into sports. More and more we just simply look forward to and create opportunity for all of us to be back together. We had a big pumpkin carving here, and the two were able to come back from school. It was good timing to have our kids and grandkids together, and we did pumpkin seeds and caramel apples together.”
Faith is also an important part of McIntyre’s life. He gives of his time as an elder at the Hillview Terrace Church of Christ in Moundsville.
“That’s a big part of our lives,” McIntyre said. “My wife is secretary for the West Virginia School of Preaching there, and a lot of our time is aptly committed to that and that work.”
Having been raised outside of Cameron, McIntyre is hesitant to pinpoint just one aspect of life in the Wheeling area that he and his family like best. Instead, he said he enjoys everything about being here, from the history to the climate to the sense of family and the memories made. A recent trip with Michele to Niagara Falls made that clear for him.
“It used to be when we were younger, and we’d go someplace else and visit, and through those younger lenses, you see things that make you think, ‘I could live there.’ But as time has passed, I didn’t see anything on that trip that made me think I could live there,” McIntyre said.
“This is home for me. It’s home for my family and it’s always been home.”
• Cassie Bendel was born in Wheeling and raised in Bellaire. A graduate of St. Vincent College, she began her writing career as a reporter with The Times Leader and the Steubenville Herald-Star before writing content for SiriusXM Satellite Radio and a national faith-based consulting company. After more than a decade in Pennsylvania, she has moved back to the Ohio Valley with her husband and two sons.