The Fort Payne City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to hire former Times-Journal Publisher Tricia Clinton-Dunne to fill the city treasurer position. Clinton-Dunne resigned her position at the newspaper upon receiving the appointment, according to Times-Journal Owner Patrick Graham.
City Clerk Andy Parker explained that he is looking ahead to retiring “some time within the next four years. Whenever the retirement system tells me I’ve got 20 years in, I’m calling it a day. It takes two, three years to train somebody to do what I do as clerk. I’m doing both jobs now, so there’s going to be a lot of overlap. The more time I can have with somebody [to train them], the better off we are going to be.”
“I think we need to get somebody in place because you never know,” said recently re-elected City Council member Johnny Eberhart. “Right now, we have all of our eggs in one basket. We’ve had things happen before and I think we need to fill that position.”
City Council member Lynn Brewer, who was also re-elected, agreed on going ahead and filling the position.
“I think [Clinton-Dunne] would do a good job,” Brewer said. “She’s got so much training in business and government because she knows every step we’ve taken.”
“She knows how it works,” Parker agreed, “and that’s a secret that’s hard to qualify, to have that ability to work well with people and mesh well with employees and the public. She brings that from the position she’s got.”
Mayor-elect Brian Baine, the current council president, said, “I’ve worked with Tricia for a lot of years, known her for a long time, and she has a heart for Fort Payne. She’s somebody I think could fill the treasurer’s job and transfer into Andy’s position down the road.”
City Council member Wade Hill made the motion to hire Clinton-Dunne, saying she’s “more than qualified to do this job. She has a passion for Fort Payne that very few people have. I think she’ll bring a lot to the table. She has a lot of experience and a degree in business management. I wish her well.”
Parker said he expects her to begin working at city hall on Oct. 26.
Clinton-Dunne, 39, served as publisher of The Times-Journal for just over five years. Prior to that, she started in advertising sales and served seven years as the newspaper’s business manager, dealing with management of the company’s finances, billing and collections. She successfully guided the company through a change of ownership from Southern Newspapers, Inc. to Graham, who also owns the Jackson County Sentinel in Scottsboro and The Sand Mountain Reporter in Albertville.
“We appreciate the tremendous job Tricia did during her many years here at The Times-Journal,” Graham said, “and we wish her the very best as she embarks on her new opportunity with the city.”
Clinton-Dunne guided DeKalb County’s oldest newspaper through many disruptive changes to the print industry and COVID-19. In 2017, Dunne was named to represent the 22 counties of District 7 on the Alabama Press Association board of directors and the board of the Alabama Newspaper Advertising Service.
Clinton-Dunne is married to Patrick Dunne, the city’s solid waste coordinator, and they have two daughters, Georgia Mae and Magnolia, with another child on the way.
She has been involved in the Fort Payne Optimist Club since 2009; she has volunteered and helped organize their Race to Embrace since its inception. Clinton-Dunne also has been involved with the Krazy Kudzu Follies from 2007 to 2011; worked on the community Christmas Dinner from 2006 to 2009; and volunteered for the Camp St. Jude and March for Babies fundraisers.