Reporter: Ellie Mahan
January 12, 2023
For the first time in 19 years, Hill County has appointed a new county auditor following the announced retirement of Susan Swilling, who previously held the position. Sahib Rao officially started as the county auditor November 28, after being appointed by District Judge Lee Harris. Swilling is serving as the assistant county auditor and providing training to Rao as he settles into his new role.
Rao said that Swilling has helped with the transition process and has updated him on pending projects taking place in the county. Rao started out with an understanding of multiple aspects of his job due to the knowledge he gained in his prior work experience.
“I have loved numbers always. I have collectively about 10 years of experience in the accounting side of things, so I’ve definitely always loved it. I love managing financial records, reports of that nature. It’s very intriguing work to me. You should always find passion in your work and enjoy what you do. I definitely enjoy accounting and financial management,” Rao said.
He also enjoys staying in touch with constables, commissioners and other leaders so that he can keep up with the ways that the community is being served through the latest projects.
For two years, Rao worked for Oracle, which is the second largest software company in the world, second only to Microsoft. There he worked on banking reconciliation, banking management and auditing. He also has experience working for the government, in the department of social services, and as an accountant for a car dealership.
Rao moved to America in 1995 when his family moved from Punjab, India to Sacramento, California. After moving to Sacramento at the age of five, Rao stayed in the area for most of his life and completed most of his education in northern California. Rao obtained a Masters in data analytics from MMC Computers.
Rao ultimately moved to Texas three years ago because Oracle’s headquarters relocated from California to Austin. Currently located in Manor, near Austin, Rao hopes to find a home in Hill County for his family within the next year. Rao grew up in Elk Grove, California, which he said was a small town when he lived there. Rao said, “To some extent, I grew up in a small town, so I feel I understand that pretty well, the nature of things.”
As the county auditor, Rao accounts for the county’s funds and taxes for the year and ensures that the fund limits that are agreed upon by county officials are followed.
“My job is to make sure everything on a quarterly basis, on a weekly basis, on a daily basis is being invoiced properly, general ledgers are managed properly, ultimately so that we can prepare our annual reports and present it to everyone, and everything has been accounted and audited properly,” Rao said.
He works with the treasurer’s department and the county judges to make sure all the money is accounted for so that he would be able to explain to the taxpayers how the money is being spent in the community.
Rao said, “One of my primary goals is to make sure every penny of our taxpayers’ money, every penny on the dollar is accounted for, cleared, and at the end of the year, if we’re able to give, which we will be, we want to be able to give as much money as we can back to the taxpayers, which means in terms of moving that money over to next year for whatever projects come up next year.”
When he is not at work, Rao enjoys quality time with his wife of ten years and their 8-year-old son and 7-year-old son. The family can be found playing with their one-year-old German Shepherd, hiking, playing basketball together, and spending as much time as they can outdoors, appreciating nature.