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True Blue Alumna Keeping Georgia Out of the Red

Teresa MacCartney has a particular aversion to red.

Aside from the fact that she’s a “Double Eagle” alumna of Georgia Southern and True Blue to the core, she’s also the chief financial officer (CFO) and director of the Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) for the State of Georgia, which means it’s her job to keep Georgia out of “the red.”

In her role as CFO, MacCartney oversees the state budget, which exceeds $22 billion, and requires the input and intense scrutiny from analysts and lawmakers before it can be adopted in the Legislature. It’s an arduous process, but it’s one that she learned to love while working as an intern and later a graduate assistant with the Office of the Provost under Virginia Samiratedu, assistant provost and academic fiscal affairs officer at Georgia Southern.

“It was definitely the influence of working on campus…especially when I shifted to my graduate program and started working with Virginia Samiratedu,” said MacCartney. “I enjoyed working on individual budgets within the colleges — especially during year-end when you get to move that funding between initiatives. I think that’s what got me started down the path of really enjoying the budget side of things.”

The process of seeing a budget through to its adoption is much more complex in her current role, but no less rewarding. To start the process, MacCartney first works with the Governor to outline his priorities, then consults with lawmakers as the bill goes through the General Assembly, the House and the Senate. At each step, she tries to ensure that the Governor’s priorities remain in the budget while listening to feedback and keeping track of changes made by the Legislature.
It’s a process that demands flexibility and stamina, but MacCartney understands it is about more than just numbers.

“Sitting in this office, you get a better understanding of the big picture and how everything fits together,” she said. “You also get an understanding of the fact that you make decisions at the end of the day, and those decisions truly have an impact on the citizens in the state.”

In the Governor’s Office, MacCartney is one of several Georgia Southern alumni making a difference in the state. She works regularly with Chris Riley, the Governor’s Chief of Staff; Katie Childers, the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy; Lonice Barrett, the Governor’s Special Counsel, and several staffers in the office who know what it means to be True Blue…and how to rub it in when necessary.

“When Georgia Southern beat Florida, I had an education director who graduated from the University of Florida, so you can imagine the decorations I put up in his office,” she said. — Doy Cave

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