Finance Officer Of The Year

Vermillion City Manager John Prescott (at left) present City Finance Officer Mike Carlson with the 2020 South Dakota Finance Officer of the Year Award from the South Dakota Municipal League. He also presented Carlson with a token of his appreciation for serving as president of the South Dakota Government Finance Officer Association. It turns out Mike’s role in that position hasn’t ended as he said during Monday’s presentation that his term, which was scheduled to end in last June, had been extended another year. “When you’ve got a good thing going, you don’t let it go,” Prescott said, laughing.

City Manager John Prescott’s voice cracked with emotion at times during Monday night’s meeting of the Vermillion City Council as he announced some very good news to public.

The South Dakota Municipal League has named Mike Carlson Finance Officer of the Year.

“It’s my distinct pleasure to do this on behalf of the city council and for the city staff,” Prescott said. “The City of Vermillion is very pleased to announce that our very own Mike Carlson has been named the South Dakota Dakota Municipal League Finance Officer of the Year.”

This honor is awarded to an individual who not only excels in the profession, but goes above and beyond the call of duty to make a difference in the community in which they serve, he said.

“Mike certainly meets these criteria and is very deserving of this recognition,” Prescott said.

He read portions of a press release that was released to the media Tuesday.

“Mike has annually coordinated reporting efforts which for 24 years has resulted in the City receiving the Government Finance Officer Association Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting,” Prescott said. “I think the council heard just a couple weeks ago at our last audit, they couldn’t find any errors in it. I think that speaks well to he and his staff.”

The release from the Municipal League notes that “Mike leads change in the office as the City has over the last couple of years implemented malt beverage markup, hotel occupancy fee, and other changes to enhance the customer experience.”

“He is trusted and respected by elected officials and community members to provide a straight-forward, detailed response to their questions,” the news release states. “Mike is the organizational watchdog who is quick to help guide and teach all employees about finance and the organization in general. His immense knowledge of the organization and community is extraordinary.”

“Mike is the ultimate team member. City staff agree that this is where he really shines. Department heads were asked to send a note about extra, unique, or special things Mike does to help. The list exceeded 25 different submissions of the extra things Mike does to go above and beyond for the organization, many of which noted how he drops everything to assist in any way,” Prescott said.

“Mike somehow keeps track of everything going on in every department and is willing to help or offer support,” the press release states. “Whether it is a finance question, maintaining furnace filters and lightbulbs at City Hall, or assisting to retrieve a set of keys dropped down the elevator shaft, Mike is there.”

Carlson has served the City as Finance Officer for more than 30 years, but his service reaches far beyond the boundaries of traditional city work, Prescott said, noting that he serves the community in many capacities.

“He is always willing to lend a hand to assist a neighbor, organization, or community. Mike has served on the Dakota Hospital Foundation Board and served his church as moderator, trustee, trustee stewardship, church board, and helps with the weekly meal for approximately 80 youth attending religious education classes, he said.

The Municipal Leagues press release states how Mike is a very active member of the Clay County 4-H Board, helping not only providing hands-on work getting property ready for the fair, selling tickets, and running events.

Mike’s wife, Kathy, has been volunteering at the Vermillion Food Pantry the last couple of years, and as Mike is always willing to pitch in and help, he has become a de facto Food Pantry volunteer.

Mike also volunteers to staff USD track and field events and is a member of the Vermillion Lions Club. “Mike is that dedicated volunteer, no matter what the task is, he’s willing to help,” Prescott said, reading from the Municipal League release. “He is the dependable volunteer who will be there early to set things up and will stay late to clean up. It doesn’t matter what the task is, Mike is willing to help.”

The Municipal League notes that Mike taught hunter safety education classes for many years, he actively works Lions Club pancake feeds and when his kids were in the K-12 system, he worked numerous track events, After Prom events, soup suppers and wherever help was needed.

“The City of Vermillion couldn’t be more proud of Mike’s accomplishments and contributions to not only the organization, but our community at large and wish to congratulate him on being named Finance Officer of the Year for the State of South Dakota,” Prescott said.

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