06-14 jim mahoney-01

Palestine Finance Director Jim Mahoney said the city could flirt with disaster without a significant investment in its aging water mains and pipes. 

A retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt., City Finance Director Jim Mahoney is committed to battle the city budget with the same tenacity that carried the Desert Storm and Kosovo veteran through 23 years in the Corps.

“There's a new sheriff in town,” Mahoney told the Herald-Press Thursday. “I don't put up with waste, fraud, or abuse; and I hate mistakes.”

Mahoney, the second interim finance director since Steve Groom was fired in June of last year, was promoted in April. Prior to taking the job, Mahoney had retired – twice.

After retiring from the Marines, Mahoney worked briefly at Edward Jones investments, before an old service buddy contacted him about an accountant job in Humble, Texas.

“It was a company called Scylla Engineering, and it was owned by a former Marine,” he said. “When you have a veteran-owned company, it's a sure bet there's going to be a lot of vets working there.”

After a few years at Scylla, Mahoney was chosen as chief financial officer for the Virginia-based company “Prosodec,” which provided logistical and computer support to the federal government.

In 2014, Mahoney retired for a second time; this time to his land in Texas. Like so many former service members, however, the idle life was not for him. By 2016, he was looking for a job again.

“I worked as a corrections officer at the Coffield unit for a number of months,” he said. “Then I saw a job opening for an accountant in Palestine on the 'Work in Texas' website.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

“Whatever condition the city was in when we took over, it's our ball now,” Mahoney said. “I have an incredible team, who are knowledgable, motivated, and they hate to be bored. Plus, [interim city manager] Leslie Cloer has an amazing understanding of the budget, and that is incredibly helpful.

“I fully intend on holding departments, and department heads, accountable in a way they haven't been in the past. People say 'drain the swamp' – well, the swamp is gone.

“We're definitely going to get the job done.”