Our Town with William Kelly: Retired Finance Director Jane Le Clainche looks back on ‘great career’

William Kelly  |  Our Town  |  February 3, 2023

After more than 23 years as finance director for the Town of Palm Beach, Jane Le Clainche retired on Jan. 27 to begin the next chapter in her life.

“It’s been a great career,” Le Clainche said. “I’m grateful for all that the town has done for me.”

Le Clainche is a Michigan native who spent 10 years as comptroller for the city of Kankakee, Illinois, before she was hired as Palm Beach’s finance director in 1999. She was no stranger to this area, having spent winters in Palm Beach County as a child.

Le Clainche, who now lives in Juno Beach, said she applied for the Palm Beach job because she was tired of the Midwestern winters and ready for a change. As it turned out, she presided over the Finance Department during a period of tremendous change on the island.

During the last 23 years, the state rebuilt all three bridges linking the town with West Palm Beach. The town built a new central fire station, remodeled Town Hall, rebuilt the Par 3 Golf Course, constructed the new Mandel Recreation Center, replaced the Town Marina with a more modern facility, completed several beach renourishment projects, and reached the halfway point with the burial of all overhead utility lines.

“Being on the financing end of all of that has been quite rewarding,” Le Clainche said.

There also was a lot of progress within the Finance Department.

“I am very proud of what the Finance and Purchasing departments have done during that time period,” she said. “We adopted a lot of financial policies that were some of the main reasons why we achieved a AAA bond rating. We also implemented new software which made us a lot more efficient.”

Without doubt, the town’s enormous financial resources made her job easier in some ways.

“We are definitely in an enviable position,” she said. “The AAA bond ratings allow us to issue debt at the lowest possible rates. Our reserves allow us the flexibility to not issue debt, especially for larger purchases or small capital projects.”

The town’s reserves are invested under the careful watch of an Investment Advisory Committee with whom Le Clainche has worked closely over the years.

Meanwhile, the town’s property values, which have escalated in the last five years, enable the Town Council to keep the property tax rate low. It is the lowest rate among the 39 municipalities in Palm Beach County, Le Clainche said.

When Le Clainche joined the town in 1999, its total taxable value was $5 billion. Today it’s $25 billion.

Over the years, Le Clainche worked under five mayors, four town managers and numerous council members, all of whom counted on her expertise while the annual town budgets steadily grew to $97.2 million this fiscal year.

“Her consistent intelligence, precision and integrity while overseeing our financial policies and budget for the last 23 years continuously produced audits without findings, secured AAA bond ratings and helped lead us to a period of financial stability,” Town Manager Kirk Blouin said. “Jane was a pleasure to work with and will be missed.”

Mayor Danielle Moore said Le Clainche’s watchful eye over town finances, while important, may not be her greatest contribution.

“I believe the most important thing Jane brings to the table is that she is a terrific, amazing human being,” Moore said. “Her thoughtfulness and generosity with both her time and expertise has reached throughout the community, not only to her fellow employees but also to the residents and philanthropic organizations with whom she has shared her passion.”

Le Clainche said the best part of her job has been interacting with the people, including residents, elected officials and her fellow town employees.

“The finance and purchasing staff have been incredible to work with,” she said. “They are one of the reasons the Finance Department has been so successful.”

The town opted not to fill the finance director position and has instead folded those duties into a new role created for Bob Miracle. A certified public accountant who was most recently employed as deputy chief financial officer for Mecklenburg County in Charlotte, N.C., Miracle has been named Palm Beach’s deputy town manager for finance and administration.

“I think the town is in great hands,” Le Clainche said. “I think he will do an excellent job.”

Le Clainche and her husband, Jeremy, plan to travel extensively and will be spending a lot of time in Europe, where they have friends in Germany and Spain, and he has relatives in France and Italy.

“I’m excited for this next chapter of my life,” she said. “It’s an open book right now and we’ll see what happens.”


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