Melissa Heller began her career with the City of Coral Springs as the Director of Finance in 2011 and was named Deputy City Manager in 2018. She oversees the City Clerk’s Office, Human Resources, Finance, Purchasing and Parks & Recreation. Prior to joining the City, Heller served 13 years with Broward County, eventually earning the position of Deputy Chief Financial Officer.
A graduate of Cornell University, Heller planned on a career in public interest law, and was accepted to the prestigious Boston College Law School. However, after relocating from Binghamton, N.Y. to live with family in South Florida, Heller began a position as a Domestic Violence paralegal, assisting victims under the newly formed Violence Against Women Act. While deeply rewarding, that experience proved that public interest law was not the right career trajectory for her future. Excelling in mathematics, and very interested in public policy, Heller went on to earn a Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Government Financial Analysis and Management from Syracuse University – and started a career path in public service.
Of joining the City of Coral Springs after a long-term career with Broward County, Heller said, “I was drawn to the strategic planning and budgeting processes utilized by Coral Springs. I believed then, and soon realized, a career with the City would provide an opportunity to be proactive in addressing the community’s needs, rather than reactive.” During the last seven years, Heller has enjoyed collaborating with colleagues to solve problems, saying, “City staff genuinely care about the residents they serve, whether it is a complaint or a question, they work to better understand and address the issue.” Heller also says the events held in the City, are family-friendly and a great way for the community to come together.
Married for 18 years to Mike, a career law enforcement officer with the City of Fort Lauderdale, they are proud parents of a teenage daughter. The family considers their two dogs, Finnegan and Buford, to be primary members of the family too. Heller often travels throughout the State of Florida to attend her daughter’s volleyball tournaments.
When Heller is not serving the City of Coral Springs, she enjoys cooking, so much so, she created her own blog on the topic. She appreciates the creative outlet it provides, from preparing the meal, to photography, editing, website design, branding and social media. When asked what she considers her best dish, Heller says it’s her chicken cordon blue and macaroni and cheese, although her daughter would argue it’s the vegetarian sweet potato quesadilla she prepares. Of choosing a career in government, Heller holds on to the belief instilled by her grandfather, ‘that every person has an obligation to give back to the community’ and Heller chose to do so with a career in public service. As for her professional goal, Heller hopes to lead Coral Springs or another community one day as City Manager.