Longtime Gwinnett County Chief Financial Officer Maria Woods is getting a promotion, county officials announced Monday.

County Administrator Glenn Stephens appointed Woods to serve as the new deputy county administrator. She replaces Phil Hoskins, who had served in the role for six years until his retirement, which went into effect last Friday.

“As CFO, Maria has developed a deep understanding of the many facets of Gwinnett County Government,” Stephens said. “She understands the operations of each department, and she has the sound judgment to make her an effective and valuable deputy county administrator.”

Woods is one of four people appointed to new roles in the county, with county commissioners expected to vote on ratifying those appointments Tuesday. In addition to moving Woods to the deputy county administrator, Stephens chose to replace her with financial services assistant director Buffy Alexzulian in the role of director of financial services for the county.

Meanwhile, acting human resources director Vicki Casella has been named the permanent head of that department and information technology services assistant director Dorothy Parks has been named that department's new director as well as the county's new chief information officer.

Woods has been with Gwinnett County since 1997 and has served as accounting director and deputy finance manager before she become the director of the county's Financial Services Department in 2011. She was named Chief Finance Officer in 2014.

She received a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Georgia, a master's degree in business administration from Brenau University and is a certified public accountant. She received a Certified Financial Officer Level II designation from UGA and a Certified Public Finance Officer designation from the Government Finance Officers Association.

Alexulian joined the county in 2008 and served as the accounting division director and worked in the strategic business development division before she became assistant director of financial services. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration, with a finance focus, from the University of North Georgia and a master's degree in business development from Shorter University.

Like, Woods, Alexulian is also a Certified Public Accountant. She is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association as well. 

“Buffy has been with us through good economic times and bad,” Stephens said. “Her thorough financial knowledge and her experience through varying cycles of the economy makes her a valuable asset for the County.”

Cassella has worked in public and private human resources for more than 20 years and joined Gwinnett County government in 2007 as a senior human resources generalist before she earned a promotion in 2013 to human resources manager. She was named the human resources department's acting director earlier this year.

She earned her bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Illinois-Springfield.

“Vicki has a long history of developing and implementing strategies that support and enhance our mission and vision while considering the needs of the most important component of our organization – our people,” Stephens said.

Meanwhile, Parks has spent more than 30 years working in the technology industry with leadership positions at companies such as Wyndham Worldwide, Atlantic Partners Corporation, Hospitality Franchise Systems and Cendant Corporation. She earned degrees from Clark Atlanta University in management, economics and finance.

Parks joined Gwinnett County's IT department three years ago as the deputy director of enterprise applications before rising to the position of assistant director of the information technology services department.

“Dorothy has managed several IT disciplines throughout her career and brings invaluable understanding to a dynamic and essential field,” Stephens said. “She is a leader with strategic vision and experience to help us navigate the future.”

In addition to the four newly announced appointments, commissioners are also expected to vote Tuesday to formally ratify the appointment of Brett West as the county's new police chief. West's appointment to that position had previously been announced by county officials.

“Brett is a veteran law enforcement officer and a highly capable leader,” Stephens said. “We’re glad to have his steady hand at the helm.”

County commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash applauded the appointments in a statement from the county.

“Our organization and our community will be well-served by Glenn’s new additions to the County’s leadership team," Nash said. "They bring solid managerial skills and an impressive level of knowledge to their new roles. Glenn’s selections from existing staff show the depth of talent in the County organization, with so many individuals prepared to step up when given an opportunity.”

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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