Longtime Lake Charles Director of Finance set to retire

City Administrator John Cardone, City of Lake Charles Director of Finance Karen Harrell and...
City Administrator John Cardone, City of Lake Charles Director of Finance Karen Harrell and Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter at a reception held in honor of Ms. Harrell’s retirement.(City of Lake Charles)
Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 12:38 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The City of Lake Charles has announced the retirement of longtime Director of Finance Karen Harrel.

Harrell is set to retire Friday, Dec. 31, the city said.

Serving eight mayoral administrations in total, Harrell was appointed to the position of Director of Finance in 2007, according to the city.

During her tenure, she steered the city’s financial ship through economic downturns, economic booms and a number of natural disasters, including hurricanes, ice storms and historic rain events, the city said.

“A finance director can sometimes be an unsung hero,” Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said. “The position can be thankless. I am very confident in saying that the City of Lake Charles is better today because of the service and dedication of Karen Harrell and we owe her a debt of gratitude.”

“Ms. Harrell’s dedication to the City of Lake Charles is going to be greatly missed. Throughout her decades of service, Karen has been committed to ensuring that the City of Lake Charles operated with sound and ethical financial practices,” City Administrator John Cardone said. “Her dedication to being an excellent steward of the public dollar has helped ensure that City services continue at the level our citizens deserve, even through unforeseen circumstances, such as a global pandemic and multiple natural disasters. It has been a pleasure to work with such a dedicated and professional person. We were very fortunate to have Ms. Harrell as part of our team and wish her the very best on retirement.”

“Ms. Harrell has served the City of Lake Charles honorably. The City Council is responsible for adopting the annual operating and capital budget for the City of Lake Charles in addition to approving a number of expenditures at each of our regular public meetings,” Lake Charles City Council President Rodney Geyen said. “Ms. Harrell’s expertise, transparency and professionalism are things that have provided us with the confidence to place votes that will best serve our constituents. Her work comes with high commendation from the City Council. We will miss her greatly, but we wish her much health and happiness in her retirement.”

The city said Emily McDaniel has been appointed Director of Finance following Harrell’s retirement.

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