A former comptroller for the City of Corpus Christi, Balli found some familiar faces.
There were Joe B. Montez, former budget director with the City of Corpus
Christi, and Rosie Vela, who had been an assistant finance director there.
City Manager Tom Ginter said his new finance director was a hit with the City Council as soon as they reviewed her résumé.
Ginter said the council approved the appointment by a unanimous vote after a 15-minute executive session at the end of Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting.
“We’re just really glad that she’s on board with the city,” Ginter said. He is not only happy to have someone qualified in the job but to have Balli on the city’s management team.
Balli is no stranger to small town living or to South Texas. Born in Corpus Christi, she moved to Addison, Mich., with her family when she was in the second grade.
Fortunately, she had lived in South Texas long enough to remember the balmy winters by the Gulf of Mexico.
One day in 1973, after graduating from high school in Addison, she walked outside to find that her Volkswagen was buried under the snow and she could not find it.
“It was just too much snow,” she said. She moved back to Corpus Christi as soon as she could.
Life revolved around classes at Del Mar College and Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi and work.
Thirty-one years ago, while working in a Corpus Christi nightclub, she met George Balli, the leader of the band that was playing there at the time.
“He had the most popular band in Corpus Christi at the time, George J. and the Rockin’ Ravens,” the new director said.
After years of traveling with the band, George J. retired from the business to stay closer to home.
Before moving back to Corpus Christi, the couple moved to Maui in the Hawaiian Islands for 10 years.
In 1990, she went to work for the City of Corpus Christi.
Between 1996 and ’99, the Ballis ran the Tejano Academy of Fine Arts in Corpus Christi, working with at-risk kids to help get them off the streets and out of gangs.
During that time, the new finance director earned her certified public accountant license.
She spent the last 10 years working with Maximus, a computer software and consulting firm. But that put her on the road again, traveling more than she wanted.
“You’d get on a plane on Thursday night and be back on Sunday,” Balli said.
However, she then had the opportunity to work with the State of Oklahoma and the State of Tennessee.
But by Nov. 30 of last year, the company started changing its focus to health care and her job disappeared.
“I thought I’d either have to retire early or go back to work,” Balli said. Fortunately, she had to prove that she had followed at least five job opportunities a month to keep the unemployment check coming. That finally paid off when she saw a notice of the opening in Beeville.
“Everything I’ve seen is really nice,” Balli said of Beeville. Although this city is not as small as the town in Michigan where she grew up, life here resembles life there in many ways.
The people Balli and her husband have met have been friendly and helpful and they already feel right at home.
Currently, the Ballis are hoping to find a nice piece of property in Bee County, move up here and rent out their home in Corpus Christi.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.