Monika Arris

“The knowledgeable instructors helped me to see the value in research and attention to detail. Understanding the process is just as important as getting to the desired end result.”

Home: McKinney, Texas

UT Dallas Degree: Master of Public Affairs, 2001
Profession: Director of Budget & Finance, CGFO, CIO for Collin County

My Work

I am directly responsible for recommending $300+ million Annual Budget and $100+ million Capital Improvement Budget for one of the fastest-growing counties in the country with no tax rate increase for over 20 years. I supervise the Budget Department, Law Library and Support Services. I provide budgeting, financial and performance analysis to Commissioners Court and the County Administrator for effective decision-making. I serve as co-chair to the County’s Investment Committee. I coordinate with area cities and economic development corporations on tax abatements and tax increment reinvestment zones.

Honors/accolades, additional degrees received, and/or previous work/positions held

Before my MPA from UT Dallas, I received my Bachelor of Arts from Texas Women's University.

I joined the Collin County Budget & Finance Department in January 2003 and was appointed Director of Budget & Finance in October 2008. Prior to working for the County, I worked as a consultant for TeraPeople as Financial Analyst for Ericsson Global IT Services. I am a Certified Government Finance Officer through the Government Finance Officers Association of Texas (GFOAT).

I currently serve as Membership Committee Chair and Regional Director for Region 13 for the GFOAT, and am also a member of the Dallas Alumni Chapter and Alumni Association of Sigma Alpha Iota (International Music Fraternity for Women).

The Value of My Degree

The knowledgeable instructors helped me to see the value in research and attention to detail. Understanding the process is just as important as getting to the desired end result.

My EPPS Success

I enjoyed the EPPS professors and courses. It was very helpful to have the opportunity to apply what I was learning directly to the job I was holding at the time and to be able to look back at a previous job and see how things could have been done differently.

Advice for EPPS Students

If you have the opportunity to do an internship, take it! The experience can help open doors. If not, consider attending or joining organizations that will help you network with people working in the area you wish to pursue. GFOAT awards a Government Finance Fellowship to a graduate student in the area of governmental finance. Apply if this is an area that interests you. Consider attending the GFOAT Fall or Spring Conference to expand your network.

Other Interests

I run half marathons and 5K’s with my daughters. I also enjoy reading.


Posted August 2015