• Last modified 751 days ago (July 22, 2020)


Seasoned county employees vie for treasurer

First in a series
of candidate profiles

Staff writer

Two candidates are squaring off in this year’s race for the Republican nomination for county treasurer.

One, Susan Berg, is a nine-year employee of the office and has been vehicle supervisor for the past six years.

The other, Rhonda Curry, has worked in the county clerk’s office for 7½ years, where she oversees accounts payable.

Both generally praise current operations of the office but see some changes they would like to make.

Berg already works in the office. Curry, although not a member of the office, works closely with it in writing all checks for the county.

“There is cash balancing every day,” Curry said. “I’m like the checks and balances on the clerk’s side for the treasurer’s side.”

Curry, who ran for the office four years ago as an independent, said she saw a need for “active leadership” in the office.

She wants to see employees cross-trained so they can step in for each other and the public doesn’t have to come back later if whomever they need is out.

She also wants to improve communication by posting information on social media.

“I’ve talked to the public, and they would like to see that because they would like to be better informed,” Curry said.

Berg, making her first attempt at elective office, said she thought it essential that someone coming from the treasurer’s office steps into the treasurer’s role. If there is a lag while a newcomer learns the job, it slows down service for the public, she said.

“We all do a little bit of everything,” Berg said. “Everybody can do what I do. It takes all of us to get things done.”

Berg said running for office feels different from what she expected.

“I feel vulnerable,” she said.

Curry said she wanted to take a more “hands-on” role with the office. She also said she wants to improve the office’s relationship with county commissioners.

“For the most part, I get along with the commissioners very well, and I’m sure any problems can be worked out,” Curry said.

Curry said communication could be improved.

“I don’t want to be this little isolated island instead of being part of the solution,” she said.

Berg also said she expected a good working relationship with commissioners.

“When I’m elected, I’ll see the commissioners as my peers,” she said. “I would hope we would have a good working relationship with my peers.”

Berg said she appreciates the experience incumbent Jeannine Bateman has brought to the office and wants to look at the way things have been done in the past to see if that’s the way things should continue to be done. She’s thinking about those things already.

Asked whether she expected any hard feelings if Curry were to win the election, Berg said she hoped she would still have a job.

“There’s no better job than serving the public,” Berg said.

Curry said she thought the two would continue to work together regardless of who wins the election.

“I think Susan and I are both adults,” Curry said. “We’ve worked together and at the end of the day, we can work together.”

Both point to the county’s tax escrow program as a good way to help people avoid losing their property over unpaid taxes. Taxpayers can make easier-to-budget monthly, instead of annual, payments.

“In the past few years, it has just exploded,” Berg said.

Berg said she had seen people who obviously had to give something up in order to pay for their vehicle taxes.

“I take all of that to heart,” she said.

Berg said pay rates for the office aren’t equitable in comparison to the work the office does.

“No one in the office has gotten sizeable pay increases in quite a while,” she said.

But she said she had no intention of squandering county money.

“I’m a very conservative person and I will bring my conservative views to the office and run it efficiently,” Berg said.

Both candidates said it was important also that the county support local banks by using them for county accounts.

But Curry said she was not opposed to looking at such things as certificates of deposit offered elsewhere to get the best rates for county accounts.

“My No. 1 goal is to serve the public the best we can,” Curry said. “I want to enhance the daily operations, stay on top of things we need to do.”

What Curry said she wished people knew was that the treasurer’s doesn’t set taxes.

“They’re the collection agency,” Curry said. “They collect the money and send it out to the entities.”

Last modified July 22, 2020