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Gainesville’s city auditor finalists complete last interviews

City auditor candidate Stephen Mhere listens to interview questions at Gainesville City Hall. (Aidan Bush/WUFT News)
City auditor candidate Stephen Mhere listens to interview questions at Gainesville City Hall. (Aidan Bush/WUFT News)

More than a year has passed since Gainesville’s city auditor resigned and the search for a long-term replacement could end soon.

Gainesville City Commission completed interviews Nov. 28 for three finalist candidates for city auditor. The applicants — Thomas Alger, Rory Galter and Stephen Mhere — come from distinct backgrounds across the country.

Candidates previously had one-on-one interviews with commissioners and a meet and greet with the public Nov. 27.

Commissioners seemed to find the latest round of interviews productive.

Casey Willits, district 3 city commissioner, said he was impressed with multiple answers from all candidates.

“I’m thrilled with all the great experience in different places,” Willits said.

Thomas Alger

Thomas Alger has worked in financial management and auditing for over 20 years, according to the online professional network platform LinkedIn.

Alger is the Chief Audit Executive for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and has worked there since 2019. He’s previously worked for the Illinois Department of Public Health, the University of Massachusetts Boston and the Massachusetts Port Authority, among other positions.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the American International College and a master’s degree in business administration from Northeastern University.

Alger declined to comment on how the interview went.

Rory Galter

Rory Galter has worked in audit and financial management for over 45 years, according to his resume.

Galter is the audit manager for the city audit office for Dallas, Texas, and has worked there since 2015.  He has previously worked in financial management for banking, retail and healthcare.

He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Galter told staff Gainesville’s auditor office is run well, so he wouldn’t have to radically restructure.

“I wouldn’t believe I would have to come in and make major changes,” he said in his interview. “It’s just a matter of being a learning process.”

Stephen Mhere

Stephen Mhere has worked in various internal government and education roles for over 18 years, according to his resume.

Mhere currently works as a senior auditor for the city of Tampa, and has since 2013, according to LinkedIn. He previously worked at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas Department of Revenue and Wichita’s school district in Kansas.

He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Pittsburg State University and holds master’s degrees in business administration and health informatics from Baker College and the University of Missouri-Columbia, respectively.

Mhere is finishing a dissertation for a doctorate in public affairs from the University of Central Florida but said it wouldn’t interfere with his work if hired.

“That [finishing the dissertation] is, of course, time-consuming, but I will not be asking for time from you away for work in order to do that,” he said at the interview.

Before he could set any specific plans for Gainesville, Mhere said he wants to talk with city audit staff to hear firsthand their current strengths and weaknesses.

Gainesville’s next steps

Since former city auditor Ginger Bigbie’s resignation Nov. 8, 2022, and leave Jan. 13, Brecka Anderson has worked as the interim city auditor.

Mayor Harvey Ward said Anderson didn’t want to keep the position but would return to a non-leadership role on staff.

The commission will meet Dec. 7 to decide whether to hire one of the candidates. If chosen, Ward said the commission would meet Dec. 14 to discuss contracts, and the hire would start work around January.

The next auditor will be paid somewhere between $140,00 and $170,000, according to Gainesville’s City Auditor Finalist Report.

Aiden is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing