Chester County's new finance chief held similar position at local hospital

CHESTER -- Jerry Baker is coming home to manage Chester County's finances.

After working in Allendale County for more than two years, the 57-year-old Fort Lawn resident will become the county's finance director Nov. 5, filling the position Becky Moon vacated last month.

"It gets me back home," Baker said when asked why he wanted the job. "Plus, I lived in Chester County for all my life. And I think that with (County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey) being there -- and I've known Carlisle all my life -- I think that's something I can help out with."

Baker's background is primarily in hospital finances. He'll come to the county after serving as the chief finance officer at Allendale County Hospital. A Great Falls native, he held a similar position at Chester County's hospital for 21 years until 2004.

In his new job, Baker will make $55,000 annually. Roddey said Baker has the experience and education needed for the position.

"He knows all about the accounting," Roddey said of Baker. "He knows the business. We had to have somebody that had some governmental accounting (experience) ... and with a hospital and all, you'd have governmental accounting."

Baker said he brings a straight-forward approach to the job and will keep the books clean.

"I'm not going to lie, cheat, steal, nothing," he said. "That's just the way I am. I'm not going to cover up nothing for nobody. Whatever's there is there. That's just me."

During his time in Allendale, Baker said he helped restore some order to the hospital's financial records.

But the commute was rough, forcing him to stay with wife's sister and her husband during the weekdays, drive an hour to work from their house and make a three-hour trip home for the weekends.

"I'm looking forward to getting back home," he said.