Born in Rome, he came here when he was 23. Knowing no English, he gravitated toward the universal language of numbers.
“I found it easier working with numbers than with words, since at that time I did not speak English,” he said.
Profiri recently retired as Susanville’s city administrator and finance director.
He was hired as finance director in 2004 and through conservative budgeting, accounting and accountability in cash handling, Porfiri has helped lead the city to a more financially stable position in the past eight years.
Susanville has received numerous awards for financial reporting and budgeting, and its improved credit rating has allowed the city to refinance its debt. It has had a balanced budget for several years now when other California cities are floundering.
Porfiri also spearheaded the competitive Proposition 8 grant to build a community park on Sierra Street.
All public buildings, parks and public property under the jurisdiction of the city council are under the general supervision of the city administrator.
Porfiri came to the position with a background in supervision and management of cities with populations from 100,000 to 9,000 inhabitants.
Although retired, Profiri remains committed to Susanville.
“Economic development needs to become a priority for the city,” he said.
He advises his successors in office to always remember they work for the Susanville taxpayers.
“Don’t let individuals or interest groups pressure you to do what you think is wrong,” he said.
All of Porfiri’s experience can, in some ways, be traced to lessons he learned as a young man recently arrived from Italy.
“When Ronald Reagan was president,” he said, “He inspired me to want to be an American, to work hard and to stand up for honesty and integrity even when you have to pay the price, and when others around you are not.”
Porfiri also brought with him aspirations and dreams, and now that he has retired, he said he hopes to spend more time with family and friends, and doing “all the things I have neglected working full time.”
Other interests he hopes to pursue are outdoor explorations, restoring old cars, painting, reading and writing a book.
He is also passionate about travel and said, “I had the opportunity to travel in Europe and was always fascinated by different cultures, landscapes, architecture and history.”
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