Noting Georgia’s fiscal new year that begins each year on July 1st, JC/AOC staffer, Noelle Lagueux-Alvarez, recently spoke with her colleague, Drew Townsend, who serves as the Director of the Financial Administration Division and Chief Financial Officer for the Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts.
Drew Townsend, CFO for the Judicial Council of Georgia/Administrative Office of The Courts
Interview condensed and edited for clarity.
Noelle Lagueux-Alvarez: Happy Fiscal New Year to you, Drew! It’s an extra busy time of year for you, so I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me.
Drew Townsend: Thank you, Noelle, happy Fiscal New Year to you, too!
NL-A: Would you please share your professional background with our readers?
Drew Townsend: In 2006, I received my undergraduate degree from Georgia Southern University where I studied accounting and played football for three years as a quarterback and punter until I injured my hamstring. Then in 2019, I earned my certified public manager certification through the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute. As far as my work history, I started my career with the State of Georgia at the Department of Audits and Accounts in 2006, doing state financial audits. I spent about four years there and then moved to the State Accounting Office where I spent approximately two years. Then, I moved to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget where I served two years as a Policy Coordinator and Interim Director of their Physical and Economic Development Division. While I was at OPB, I handled budget and policy oversight for more than 20 state agencies. After that, I moved on to the Department of Juvenile Justice where I served as their Deputy Chief Financial Officer for three years before coming to the Judicial Council/ AOC.
NL-A: How long have you been at the JC/AOC?
Drew Townsend: I’m just shy of 4 years at the JC/AOC. My anniversary is in September.
NL-A: What functions do you oversee?
Drew Townsend: I’m extremely fortunate to work with an exceptional team of talented professionals. In the Fiscal Division, we provide a full range of financial services, including: payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and procurement. In addition to that, we provide financial training, audit support services, and we run TRIP.
NL-A: What is TRIP?
Drew Townsend: TRIP is the acronym for the Tax Refund Intercept Program which is a program available to courts throughout the state. Courts send us a list of individuals who owe the court fines or fees and the amounts they owe. Then we collaborate with the Department of Revenue to get those amounts deducted from those individuals’ tax refund and send those funds to the courts as a way of paying the fees or fines owed.
NL-A: What are your big picture goals as the Director of the Financial Administration Division and CFO of the JC/AOC?
Drew Townsend: I continuously strive to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars and financial resources. I’m committed to leading a team that provides outstanding financial services and support to the Judicial Council/AOC and the many judicial branch clients that we serve.
As far as leading the Financial Administration Division (“FAD”), I strive to maintain an environment where staff can grow professionally. FAD staff members are cross trained and get broad exposure to multiple areas in finance. I also do my utmost to create a friendly and teamwork-oriented environment that we all enjoy. I’m very fortunate. I learn as much or more from my colleagues as they do from me.
NL-A: Switching gears, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Drew Townsend: My wife and I have two kids who both play sports. I love coaching youth sports in my free time and spending time with my family whether it’s outside at the pool or relaxing at home. When I do take some time just for myself, I love to go out golfing.
NL-A: What youth sports in particular do you coach?
Drew Townsend: This coming Fall, I’ll be coaching my daughter’s middle school softball team. My son plays baseball and I’ll be doing some coaching for his team as well.
NL-A: So, you coach softball and baseball, anything else?
Drew Towsend: I played football in college at Georgia Southern and my dad played football for Tennessee and in the NFL. My son has started to express an interest in football. So, we’ll see. His interest may wane after he gets hit for the first time. So, again, we’ll see. Football is never something I have or would push on him. My parents never pushed football on me, which I appreciated, as it allowed me to enjoy the sport without being pressured.
NL-A: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Drew Townsend: Simply that I look forward to the opportunity to continue to support the judicial branch and courts across the state. I hope that courts continue to turn to our fiscal team for the financial services they may need. It’s an honor to work for the judiciary, and I’m very proud of my team in the Financial Administration Division. So often our fiscal team is quietly working behind the scenes. I appreciate you featuring our work in this article!