The Jefferson County Personnel Board has approved creating the position of chief financial officer for the county, according to published reports. A new finance director is also being sought, which would be the third in less than a year.

“With a $600 million budget and about $4 billion in debt, it’s high time we do like the corporate sector and get a chief financial officer,” County Commission president Bettye Fine Collins told the Birmingham News Sept. 10.

Collins wants a nationwide search performed for the new CFO, whose pay could range between $151,000 and $234,000.

County commissioners hired Danny Panos as finance director last October following the departure of Steve Sayler, who had held the position since 1989. In an interview last October, Sayler told The Bond Buyer that he left because of “unbearable” difficulties, including a new but flawed accounting system and the commission’s resistance to selling reimbursement debt. Sayler is now finance director for Birmingham.

In June, the personnel board made Panos assistant finance director, though no reason was given for the demotion, according to published reports. Travis Hulsey currently is acting finance director until a permanent director is selected.

Jefferson County — Alabama’s most densely populated county, with more than 650,000 residents and Birmingham as the county seat — is facing possible bankruptcy over its troubled $3.2 billion sewer debt program.

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