Hoover’s new CFO says job is ‘truly a prayer answered’

When Tina Bolt resigned her position as chief financial officer for Hoover City Schools in March 2019 to take the same job with Huntsville City Schools, it didn’t take her long to realize she missed Hoover.

Nine months later, when a finance director job opened up with the city of Hoover, Bolt jumped at the chance to come back.

“I love this city. I love this area,” the 52-year-old Bolt said. “I realized it when I was gone.”

Then when Melinda Lopez resigned as the city’s chief financial and information officer in May of last year, that opened the door for Bolt to move into that role. She served as acting chief financial and information officer for several months until being put in the job permanently in October. Then, in November, the Hoover City Council appointed her as the city’s treasurer as well.

Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said Bolt was a natural fit for the top finance job. She has an extensive background in government finance and, as the chief financial officer for both the Hoover and Huntsville school systems, oversaw budgets much larger than the city of Hoover’s budget, Brocato said.

“It was just a very easy selection to move her into that role,” he said.

Bolt already has helped reorganize the city’s finance and revenue operations to make them more efficient and save money, Brocato said.

The city treasurer role and chief financial and information officer roles have been combined into one job, and the separate Revenue Department was brought in as a division of the Finance Department.

Three longtime employees were promoted to oversee three divisions. Claire Hamilton is overseeing purchasing and budgets, while Melissa Woods is overseeing payroll and a lot of finance operations, and Ken Davidson is overseeing revenue.

The reorganization is saving the city about $400,000, Bolt said.

Bolt also is working to convert the city’s finances into a new software system, which will touch every city department. She was the project manager for that conversion as finance director and hopes to have all city departments converted to the new software by the end of February.

Brocato said Bolt also has done a good job leading the city’s financial operations during the difficulty of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused much uncertainty.

Bolt said tax revenues have been coming in stronger than projected, putting the city in a good spot for recovery. The city administration and department heads were able to trim about $8 million out of the city’s operating expenses as well, trying to do things differently without cutting services, she said.

From October through December, revenues were about $2.5 million greater than the same three-month period in 2019 and about $7.2 million greater than the budget approved by the City Council in September, Bolt said.

Bolt is a native of the small town of Dutton in Jackson County. She obtained a bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville State University, where she majored in accounting and minored in computer information systems.

She worked as an accountant and data analyst for Heil in Fort Payne and Goodyear in Scottsboro and then went to work for the Jackson County Board of Education as a business education teacher for 11 years, obtaining a master’s degree from Alabama A&M in business education along the way. She spent three years as an instructional technology specialist for Jackson County schools, four years as a business education teacher for Scottsboro City Schools and nearly five years as chief financial officer for the Jackson County Board of Education before coming to Hoover City Schools as chief financial officer in 2016.

Bolt said she loves working for the city of Hoover because there is such a great group of people all working together for the good of the city.

“Hoover is a big city that actually operates like a small town,” she said. “They try to have that small-town connection.”

Her 20-year-old son, Todd Hancock, has been battling a brain tumor, and the community has been so good to her and her family, she said.

“I’m very thrilled and blessed to be here,” she said. “It was truly a prayer answered.”