Texas Emergency Management ONLINE2011 Vol. 58 No. 4

MEET DEPUTY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR SHARI RAMIREZ-MACKAY

San Antonio Emergency Operations Center
San Antonio Emergency Operations Center

Shari A. Ramirez-MacKay is focused on ensuring that local jurisdictions “get their money back and recover as soon as possible.” As the new TDEM Deputy Assistant Director for Services she is prepared to do just that. Ramirez-MacKay most recently was the Department Fiscal Administrator with the San Antonio Office of Emergency Management.

“Our success is dependent on local jurisdictions having everything they need to do their job in the best way possible,” she said. “I know local government and local government practices and procedures. I want to try and give the locals more education and training so that they know what the state is expecting – from a paperwork perspective – and so that the process is as transparent and painless as possible. There should be no surprises in the way we do things,” she said.

“General revenue and grant budgeting, accounting and fiscal management are among the major areas I want to improve and enhance,” said Chief W. Nim Kidd. “Shari Ramirez-MacKay is a proven leader, who brings a critical set of skills in all these areas to her new post with TDEM. She will be leading our TDEM fiscal team as we work to ensure our local jurisdictions are reimbursed promptly and efficiently.”

Ramirez-MacKay’s career path combines knowledge of emergency operations with management and accounting systems. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in business (BBA) with a concentration in accounting, at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas in 1986, and began working in the financial sector.

She has managed both personal and professional investment accounts for a number of clients and organizations and has also implemented and organized a number of accounting and general ledger systems. During her tenure with the City of San Antonio, Ramirez-MacKay was responsible for managing the City of San Antonio Public Works Department annual budget of $235 million and developed internal procedures and quality controls for the department.

While working at the San Antonio Office of Emergency Management, Ramirez-MacKay oversaw a more than $40 million Homeland Security grant budget and a multi-million dollar general fund budget. She has been responsible for developing and maintaining a budgetary system to provide control of expenditures and revenues and an internal reporting system for both.

As part of her responsibilities, she ensured that all grant expenditures were within each city, state, and federal grant guideline in order to meet all audit requirements. While with the San Antonio Office of Emergency Management, she wrote the first Internal Controls Policies and Procedures handbook for her division, as well as the first such handbook for the City of San Antonio.

She became interested in Emergency Management several years ago and volunteered to work with the Alamo Area Regional Command Type 3 Incident Management Team.

“When I was a child, I lived on the coast of Texas in Port Lavaca. Almost every summer, we had to get ready to evacuate. I spent a lot of time boarding up windows. My first year as I was going off to college, a hurricane came through – and we had a car packed with just my stuff just in case we came home to nothing. So I understand, because I lived it.”

Ramirez-MacKay became Finance/Administration Section Chief for the Alamo Type 3 IMT as well as the Finance Section Chief for the Alamo Regional Command Center.

“I was part of the Alamo Area Regional Command Team Financial Sector. We worked on reconciliation for four hurricanes in 2008. We developed new processes to help the community so the reimbursement procedures would be correct,” she explained. “We brought in FEMA and went through extensive training to get it right so we could be on top of the next hurricane. Four hurricanes back to back – it was tough to keep track of.”

She added: “I like to help implement policies, practices and procedures to help get the job done in the easiest, most efficient way. I think my first year at TDEM is going to be the learning year. I’m always open to suggestions and comments – and I look forward to seeing everyone at the Texas Emergency Management Conference.”

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