Interview with Evelyn Taylor – Candidate for County Clerk

Evelyn Taylor is a Democrat running for Bourbon County Clerk in the upcoming election. Here are a few interview questions with her answers.

1. Please tell readers a little bit about yourself and your background.

My name is Evelyn Taylor and I have lived in Bourbon County for the past 30 years. I have 2 children and 3 grandchildren. My children were born in Fort Scott and attended the public schools here, and attended FSCC as well. My grandchildren will attend public schools here as well. I have a very strong relationship with my children. I remarried 2 years ago after the death of my husband of 26 years. Cancer took his life. He worked for Bourbon County for approximately 20 years as a Deputy with the Sheriff’s Dept. I started my career in the medical field working at a local nursing home before starting at Mercy hospital. I am a certified nurses aide, as well as an activity director and social service designee. I worked as a ward clerk and then a pharmacy tech. In 1993 I went to work for Newman Young Clinic in the OB/GYN office. In 1997 I left Mercy to work at another nursing home here in town. I obtained experience as receptionist, payroll clerk, and employee benefits and accounts payable. I advanced to office manager where my duties included Medicare, Medicaid, co-insurance billing, accounts receiveable, trust accounts, bank deposits, petty cash, order of supplies, maintain resident financial records, posting payments and helped with the budget. I have some experience with marketing as well. In 2006 I went back to Mercy as a pharmacy tech and then eventually ended up working in the Mercy Clinic where I presently work. I have always worked with the public.

 2. Why are you running for office?

For the past 15 years or so I have had an interest in working for the county. I have wanted to know how things work, and as a tax payer, where my money is spent and what is it being spent on. I knew that any office job with the county would be very interesting and challenging. I feel that with the experience I have obtained over the years that I would be an asset to the county.

 3. What do you feel is the single most important issue facing the county?

 I feel the most important issue we are facing is the economy.

 4. Why do you think you are a better choice for the voters than the incumbent?

I feel that there needs to be a change. I have good background in office experience. I am willing and able to learn every aspect of the clerk’s office. I deal very well with the public and feel that I am very capable of doing the job.

 5. What is the single most important skill you would bring to the office?

 Organizational skills, public relations and professionalism.

 6. If elected, what would your top priority be during your first 90 days?

 Education – learning every aspect of the job.

 7. Health insurance is one of the fastest growing expenses the county is facing. What are some ways you’d recommend the county deal with this issue?

Well, with the past employers I have worked for, the employees have always paid a portion of their insurance and the employer paid their portion and it has always been with a large company where you have the most benefits possible at a reasonable price. I would suggest thoroughly investigating insurance companies and not taking the first one that comes along.

A Candidate Forum will be held on July 31 in the Theater of the Ellis Fine Arts Center on the Campus of Fort Scott Community College.  Forum begins at 6 pm. Doors open at 5:30.  The Public is encouraged to attend.  This event is sponsored by the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce.

Be sure to vote on August 7!

Interview with Rhonda Dunn – Candidate for County Treasurer

Rhonda Dunn is a Republican running for Bourbon County Treasurer in the upcoming election. Here are a few interview questions with her answers.

1. Please tell readers a little bit about yourself and your background.

I am a fourth generation resident of Bourbon County and was born and raised in Fort Scott.  My brothers and I grew up in the Saturday night auction that our Dad, Bill Dunn, had each week.  I attended Fort Scott High School and received my bachelor’s degree in accounting from Pittsburg State.  I completed my master’s degree in business from the University of Tulsa.  I have 17 years experience working for large oil companies in variety of positions.  I lived away from this area for many years and chose to return to my hometown in 2006 to be closer to my family.   For the last 6 years I have worked in my family moving business here in southeast Kansas.

 2. Why are you running for office?

I’ve always had an interest in politics and have been encouraged several times to run for office.  It’s clear the people of Bourbon County are ready for a new Treasurer and that position is an opportunity for me to put my education and experience to work for our area.

3. What do you feel is the single most important issue facing the county?

As a citizen, I think the most important issue is jobs and sustainable businesses that can provide those jobs.  As County Treasurer, the most important issue is collecting as much of the taxes owed to the county as we can.  In the audit done last year, more than $875,000 in property taxes were still outstanding for the 2010 tax year.  I believe we can avoid increases in taxes if we collect the taxes due each year.  In this economy, collection will get even more difficult and we need creative ideas and diligent people to get it done.

 4. Why do you think you are a better choice for voters than the incumbent?

If elected, I will be the honest Treasurer who will run the competent and fair treasurer’s office the residents of Bourbon County expect.  I am the best choice because I will bring a fresh perspective and work very hard to solve the problems that currently plague the Treasurer’s office.

 5. What is the single most important skill you would bring to the office?

My most important skill is my work ethic.  Education and experience only get you so far in any job.  I am a person who works hard and learns fast.  If I don’t know the answer, I figure it out.  I can create a positive work environment so that employees are motivated to do a good job.  I have the integrity to admit mistakes and learn from them.

 6. If elected, what would your top priority be during your first 90 days?

Voters should know that unlike the other offices which transition to the newly elected people in January 2013, the Treasurer does not take over until the 2nd Tuesday in October after the election.  I will have lots of time to plan my first 90 days!  However, the top priority starting my term would be to get the new tax year started and get up to speed as quickly as possible.  I would also focus right away on collecting back taxes in the best way possible.

 7. Health insurance is one of the fastest growing expenses the county is facing. What are some ways you’d recommend the county deal with this issue?

I would create a team to research a benefit package with a goal of reducing the overall cost to the county.   The team should include workers from different county functions so that all groups are involved in the process, creative ideas are generated, and different viewpoints are heard.  A variety of vendors should bid on the business to drive cost down.  I have some experience working with insurance vendors and putting our business insurance out to bid resulted in a 40% reduction in premiums for our small business.  I would enjoy a project like this and would work hard to save the county money on their insurance.

A Candidate Forum will be held on July 31 in the Theater of the Ellis Fine Arts Center on the Campus of Fort Scott Community College.  Forum begins at 6 pm. Doors open at 5:30.  The Public is encouraged to attend.  This event is sponsored by the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce.

Be sure to vote on August 7!

Interview with Susan Quick – Candidate for Bourbon County Treasurer

Susan Quick is a Democrat running for Bourbon County Treasurer in the upcoming election. Here are a few interview questions with her answers.

1. Please tell readers a little bit about yourself and your background.

I have lived in Bourbon Co most of my life and graduated from Uniontown High School. I am married for 44 yrs and we have 2 daughters and two great grandsons. I am a member of the Bethel Community Church.

2. Why are you running for office?

I want to continue working for Bourbon County.

3. What do you feel is the single most important issue facing the county?

Bourbon County needs new businesses & jobs, this would help ease the tax burden on the property owners. Single family property owners cannot solely bear the weight of the increasing taxes.

4. Why do you think you are a better choice for voters than the incumbent? (If you are the incumbent, why do you think you are a better choice than others who are running?)

I have experience of 21 years in this office. I have performed every duty in the Treasurer’s Office.

5. What is the single most important skill you would bring to the office?

Efficiency & constantly work to operate the office within the budget.

6. If elected, what would your top priority be during your first 90 days?

To collect the first half of the 2012 property taxes and work on the January, 2013 distribution, which usually totals more than a million dollars.

7. Health insurance is one of the fastest growing expenses the county is facing. What are some ways you’d recommend the county deal with this issue?

Bourbon County currently has a good health insurance to offer it’s employees. I feel this is a good incentive to keep our good employees.

A Candidate Forum will be held on July 31 in the Theater of the Ellis Fine Arts Center on the Campus of Fort Scott Community College.  Forum begins at 6 pm. Doors open at 5:30.  The Public is encouraged to attend.  This event is sponsored by the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce.

Be sure to vote on August 7!

Interview with Lora Holdridge – Candidate for Register of Deeds

Lora Holdridge is a Republican running for Bourbon County Register of Deeds in the upcoming election. Here are a few interview questions with her answers.

 1. Please tell readers a little bit about yourself and your background.

I was born here and I graduated high school here. My dad’s job moved us around a lot but I settled back here when I was nine. I then followed my husband to South Carolina for about 10 years, but you always come home.

I am married and have one son that is currently finishing up his tour in the Navy, and a beautiful daughter in law.

I am a K-State Certified Register of Deeds.

 2. Why are you running for office?

I started in this office 8 years ago, when I was appointed in April of 2011 I knew that I would run for election. I love what I do!

 3. What do you feel is the single most important issue facing the county?

 Only one! Cost of living!

 4. Why do you think you are a better choice for voters than the incumbent? (If you are the incumbent, why do you think you are a better choice than others who are running?)

I have been here for 8 years, I have done everything in this office. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. You need to have land related training to be the Register.

 5. What is the single most important skill you would bring to the office?

 Experience!

 6. If elected, what would your top priority be during your first 90 days?

Continue with the money saving jobs we have already implemented to digitize our most valued land record books.

 7. Health insurance is one of the fastest growing expenses the county is facing. What are some ways you’d recommend the county deal with this issue?

Not sure this is even available here in Kansas, but in South Carolina everyone(state, federal, city, county, schools) all belonged to Blue Cross Blue Shield State. If we teamed up with the large companies we might be able to get a better rate. Health fairs. The county employees don’t always get any cost of living raises and it helps to know that we have good insurance.

A Candidate Forum will be held on July 31 in the Theater of the Ellis Fine Arts Center on the Campus of Fort Scott Community College.  Forum begins at 6 pm. Doors open at 5:30.  The Public is encouraged to attend.  This event is sponsored by the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce.

Be sure to vote on August 7!

Interview with Kendell Dawn Mason – Candidate for County Clerk

Kendell Dawn Mason is a Republican running for Bourbon County Clerk in the upcoming election. Here are a few interview questions with her answers.

1. Please tell readers a little bit about yourself and your background.

I am Kendell Dawn Mason and I have lived in Bourbon County most of my life. I live with my husband Steve and our daughter Ashton. Our son, Alex just completed his active duty enlistment with the United States Marine Corps. He lives in Bourbon County with his wife Holli. I graduated from Fort Scott High School and graduated from Fort Scott Community College with an Associate of Science Degree. I am a Kansas State licensed Emergency Substitute Teacher, Kansas State licensed Cosmetologist, and a Kansas State licensed C.N.A. I worked at Great West Insurance Company for 8 years and worked at Bourbon County Courthouse in the Clerk’s office for 7 1/2 years. While there I was the Personnel Director. My job duties were…accounts payable, payroll, all employee benefits including Kpers, insurance, sick and vacation benefits, W2’s, 1099’s, State and Federal taxes and reports. I assisted with Homestead and Food Sales tax preparations, assisted with elections, sold Kansas wildlife and parks licenses, I was a notary for the State of Kansas, as well as various other duties as assigned.

2. Why are you running for office?

I know that if elected I can do the job professionally and accurately. And I think it is time we see some positive changes in the Clerk’s office.

3. What do you feel is the single most important issue facing the county?

I think the most important issue facing the county is the same issue that we all face and that is financial burdens.

4. Why do you think you are a better choice for voters than the incumbent?

I am a very conservative spender. I believe that when it comes to the taxpayers money, every measure should be taken to eliminate excess spending which will help prevent escalating taxes in our county. I realize that the taxpayers pay county employees wages and that as a county employee you work for the taxpayers of this county.

5. What is the single most important skill you would bring to the office?

Professionalism

6. If elected, what would your top priority be during your first 90 days?

My top priority in the first 90 days would be to organize the records kept in the county clerk’s office and to learn any of the job duties that I am not already familiar with.

7. Health insurance is one of the fastest growing expenses the county is facing. What are some ways you’d recommend the county deal with this issue?

Most county employees do not have a large salary, but there are excellent benefits including leave time and insurance benefits – I think the benefits help make up for what’s lacking in their salary. I know first hand how important it is to have excellent insurance benefits and I would not want to take that benefit away from the employees.

A Candidate Forum will be held on July 31 in the Theater of the Ellis Fine Arts Center on the Campus of Fort Scott Community College.  Forum begins at 6 pm. Doors open at 5:30.  The Public is encouraged to attend.  This event is sponsored by the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce.

Be sure to vote on August 7!

Interview with Joanne Long – Candidate for County Clerk

Joanne Long is a Republican running for Bourbon County Clerk in the upcoming election. Here are a few interview questions with her answers.

1. Please tell readers a little bit about yourself and your background.

I’m the youngest of five children of a career Navy Master Chief.  I grew up in New Orleans, but I’ve lived in Bourbon County for over half my life.  Bob and Ruth Chambers, of Hiattville, were my grandparents, and Joe and Virginia Chambers are my uncle and aunt.  My mother is retired and lives in Linn County with the rest of the Chambers clan.  My father passed away in 1985.   Other family in the state includes my sister, a niece and nephew, Piotrowski cousins in Bourbon County, Chambers cousins in Linn and Johnson Counties and Long cousins in northern and northwest Kansas.  I was hired by Barbara Wood at the age of 20 and was trained to do every job and have held every position in the Clerk’s Office, voraciously learning everything that was ever offered to me, and when Barbara decided to retire in 2000, I ran for the office and have held it ever since.   I love the many aspects of the job and that it’s not the same thing day in and day out.  It keeps me learning with all the new laws and procedures that come from Washington, DC, and Topeka.  It’s a challenge to keep up with the changes in law and the mandates from the Federal and State governments, but I welcome it.

2. Why are you running for office?

I love what I do.  I feel that my 20 years with the office and my knowledge and experience in all aspects of the office make me the ideal County Clerk.  The clerk’s office is an integral part of the County, as most of the business that happens at the courthouse comes through the office in one way or another.  I feel my knowledge, experience, tenacity, willingness to learn and my capacity to adapt to change make me the best candidate for the job.  I have seen many changes in my two decades in the clerk’s office and anticipate many more to come.  Bourbon County deserves a clerk that can handle those challenges and will meet them head-on.

3. What do you feel is the single most important issue facing the county?

It’s kind of a simplistic answer to a complicated problem, but: the economy.  If we had more businesses in the County, that would mean an increased workforce with the additional employees and possibly more population.  Houses that are for sale would be sold and taken by these new families and they would increase the tax base and lower the tax burden on all the taxpayers in the County.  That would allow the same, or more, to be done with less from each person and would help the community to prosper, while possibly lowering the mill levy.

4. Why do you think you are a better choice for voters than the incumbent? (If you are the incumbent, why do you think you are a better choice than others who are running?)

I have performed every job in the office; I am a Certified and Master County Clerk; I am a leader among clerks, as I am the current Vice-President and President-elect of the Kansas County Clerks’ and Election Officials’ Association, having been unanimously elected to both positions.  I am technologically savvy; I am excellent with numbers; I have cut the office budget by 14.5%; stream-lined duties and eliminated waste.  I have had a balanced budget every year of my tenure; I have saved the taxpayers over $35,000, since 2008, by programming the ballots myself.

My opponent’s experience in the clerk’s office was limited to accounts payable and payroll, as well as Homestead assistance and limited Fish and Game and Elections experience.  However, she was unable to successfully complete payroll and accounts payable year-end without assistance from the programmers, at a cost of over $1,000 each year (Bourbon County has not required, nor paid for, programmer’s assistance for payroll or accounts payable, since her departure.  In fact, we received a refund, in the amount of $1,198, for eliminating the maintenance on legacy software preferred by my opponent).

In addition, my opponent has never:

  1. Worked a Presidential Election
  2. Set a budget
  3. Calculated a mill levy
  4. Maintained the tax roll, including name/address changes, adds/abates/escapes and special assessments
  5. Taken Commission minutes or written a resolution
  6. Reconciled Motor Vehicle and the General Ledger
  7. Completed a tax abstract for real property or motor vehicle
  8. Maintained the County’s Inventory
  9. Reported bonded indebtedness to the State for all entities in the County
  10. Maintained Voter Registration or organized and directed poll workers for an election
  11. Designed/programmed or handled rotation of ballots
  12. Testified before the House and Senate to pass legislation
  13. Been appointed by the Secretary of State’s Office to lead a panel of Kansas County Clerks
  14. Verified a petition
  15. Reconciled checks

My opponent struggled with change and technology and lacked confidence in her work.  A vote for Joanne Long ensures a balanced, lower budget, better service and more available information for and service to the taxpayers of Bourbon County.

5. What is the single most important skill you would bring to the office?

 Twenty years of knowledge and experience.

  6. If elected, what would your top priority be during your first 90 days?

The same as it is every year:  I and my staff will continue to make sure all quarterly and annual reports are completed for the office; calculate, print, and file W2s and 1099s with the appropriate agencies; update tax tables for employee files, as needed; submit the tax unit boundary certification to the State, County Appraiser and every Utility in the County; compile and submit the annual Motor Vehicle Abstract to the State; ask departments to submit their inventory for the year; send reminders to Cereal Malt Beverage license holders for renewal and rental of duck blinds at Elm Creek Lake; publish the offices up for election in April 2013; handle the filings for those offices; compile the data for federal service ballots to be sent 45 days prior to the election; determine if a Primary is required and bill the appropriate entity; register voters; confirm election workers; create the ballots for each of the city and school districts; assist low income and elderly citizens with their Homestead/Food Sales Tax returns; offer Advance Voting for the Spring Election(s); file official signatures of all County Officials for the insurance company; as well as selling game licenses and taking minutes and anything else that comes up.

7. Health insurance is one of the fastest growing expenses the county is facing. What are some ways you’d recommend the county deal with this issue?

Currently we are in year one of a three-year contract with the State, so nothing can be done immediately.  However, a wellness program, with incentives, could create a healthier workforce, which in turn, will offer a more appealing group for possible insurance carriers.   Healthier employees translates to fewer claims, which could drive rates lower.  Other possibilities include plans with a higher deductible for a lower premium or offering a Health Savings Account.

I thank you for this opportunity to share information with the voters of Bourbon County.  I have been honored to serve the citizens of Bourbon County for over two decades, and I ask for your support and vote on August 7th.

Thank you again.

Joanne Long

A Candidate Forum will be held on July 31 in the Theater of the Ellis Fine Arts Center on the Campus of Fort Scott Community College.  Forum begins at 6 pm. Doors open at 5:30.  The Public is encouraged to attend.  This event is sponsored by the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce.

Be sure to vote on August 7!

 

 

Interview with Barbara Albright – Candidate for Bourbon County 2nd District Commissioner

Barbara Albright is a Republican running for Bourbon County Commissioner (2nd district)  in the upcoming election. Here are a few interview questions with her answers.

1. Please tell readers a little bit about yourself and your background.

I am Barbara Albright, a life-long resident of Bourbon County. My educational preparation includes Fort Scott High School, Fort Scott Community College, and my focus in teaching & learning/administration was from Pittsburg State University. My 35-year career in public education included numerous positions: school secretary, first grade teacher, middle school teacher, middle school assistant principal, and middle school principal. My husband Ron Albright and I are parents to three adult children and six grandchildren. I am a salesperson in the family real estate agency, belong to several local civic and community organizations, and attend Diamond Community Church.

 2. Why are you running for office?

 In addition to fulfilling my desire to serve the public, as Bourbon County Commissioner of District 2, I will bring the right mix of energy, ideas and understanding to an important position that can greatly benefit us all.

 3. What do you feel is the single most important issue facing the county?

To provide services for the people of Bourbon County, it is important to be aware of property taxes, our primary source of revenue. Increasing our county’s tax-base becomes the issue at hand. Economic development and growth within our county/city would bring additional employment opportunities, increased population, and more homeowners – all factors in the collection of additional property taxes.

 4. Why do you think you are a better choice for voters than the incumbent? (If you are the incumbent, why do you think you are a better choice than others who are running?)

As a commissioner I will strive for transparency in local government, improved city-county relationship, economic development opportunities, and the more efficient use of our taxpayer dollars. You can count on my energy to find creative solutions to complicated issues. This is a role I will take on with the necessary vigor and commitment to make a positive difference.

 5. What is the single most important skill you would bring to the office?

My twenty-one years of administrative experience, coupled with my positive approach in working with people, will be demonstrated in my collaborative leadership style when facing the needs and future of Bourbon County.

  6. If elected, what would your top priority be during your first 90 days?

My commissioner preparation and commitment actually began the day I filed to have my name placed on the primary ballot. Next, I began reading, asking questions, and attending commission meetings. As for the first 90 days, I would definitely welcome additional training to better serve my district and county, i.e. Kansas Association of Counties provides learning opportunities for county leaders. Additional preparation would include bringing a clear and concise understanding of the 2013 budget, thus ensuring more efficient use of taxpayer dollars as financial decisions are considered.

 7. Health insurance is one of the fastest growing expenses the county is facing. What are some ways you’d recommend the county deal with this issue?

Currently the county employees have health insurance benefits through the state plan; the large pool of participants makes the state plan desirable by offering three different companies and numerous plans meeting the needs of the employee/employee’s family. When analyzing salaries of county workers, it is apparent the health benefit is a factor in hiring and maintaining effective, dedicated county employees. Please note, health insurance benefits are an expenditure that must be looked at closely each year as circumstances change. In 2014, we could see major changes with health insurance requiring further analysis and consideration. Promoting opportunities for each county employee to receive a thorough informative explanation on the different health insurance options/plans, i.e. HSA (Health Savings Account), prior to plan selection at enrollment, could result in a cost savings to both the employee and the county.

A Candidate Forum will be held on July 31 in the Theater of the Ellis Fine Arts Center on the Campus of Fort Scott Community College.  Forum begins at 6 pm. Doors open at 5:30.  The Public is encouraged to attend.  This event is sponsored by the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce.

Be sure to vote on August 7!