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!



5 thoughts on “Interview with Joanne Long – Candidate for County Clerk”

  1. I find it necessary to make some remarks in regards to Joanne’s interview. I worked in that office for 11 years and 10 months. I worked for Joanne and with Kendall . With respect for both ladies, I feel I have to say that the above things listed that Kendall did not ever do is not quite fair to Kendall. In October of 2004, Kendall was diagnosed with Cancer. She was very ill and came to work everyday that was possible with her chemo. The presidential election was held in Nov. 2004 and I am sure that she worked that day or part of it and we insisted she should not be there that night due to her resistance was so low from chemo. We being Shirley and I . Also we were not crossed trained in that office as Barbara Wood had done with Joanne as Barbara Wood knew she was going to retire. Joanne did not want any of us to know her job for fear of someone running against her. This is unfair to say that we were not willing to learn these jobs as each one of us had our jobs to do and that is what you did. You do just naturally pick up the operations of the other duties as you work there and I feel Kendall does know the operations of the Clerk’s office and can do the job and do it well. She has a very pleasant personality and is good with the public. Kendall did not ask to be ill on this 2004 Presidential Election and would have been there otherwise. You can check her sick leave record and see that she worked when she could hardly hold her head up. She is a very dedicated worker and very easy to work with. I believe I came back and worked for her in the 2008 Election as her son was graduating from basic training or leaving for the Marines. I do not know which now. Both time she had a very good reason for being gone. I know one election she and the rest of us was there till 3 in the morning. So it is not like she would not do her part. As for the $35,000 savings by doing the ballots, is that the same time that we started paying $10,000 a year or $40, 000 to Joanne for Election pay the last 4 years.? Most of the above duties was what she did and did not want us involved in. Joanne was not doing all the above tasks when I worked there. Are the girls that work in the office now doing all the above jobs that she mentioned. I’d say not. Regardless of who wins this election, Kendall’s interview was clean and did not run anyone down.

  2. I have one question for Joanne: Did you have access to tax records and did you know that property was not being put up for auction as they should have been for YEARS of unpaid taxes?

    RE: Your response to #6 – I see nothing about finding ways to decrease your budget and save the taxpayers money.

  3. It was not that long ago people were saying Joanne Long pushed all her work off on everyone else in the office. Which is it? Did she not do anything or do it all for fear of others learning it?

  4. I am sorry I did not make myself clear on the above duties in the clerk’s office. I will go by the # to explain. Joanne says Kendall has never done the above in her interview. I will try to explain.
    #1 Kendall did work on the 2004 Presidental election.
    #2 The county clerk sets the budget for her office.
    #3 The county clerk calculates the mill levy
    #4 Joanne did not do the name changes, special assessments, address changes, which was Shirley’s or my job.
    #5. None of Joanne’s help wrote resolutions and the Deputy Clerk did the minutes when Joanne was not there.
    #6 Shirley did these things. Was her job.
    #7.Was Joanne’s job.
    #8 Joanne did not do this, I did. It was my job.
    #9 Joanne did this.
    #10 I did the voter maintenance and made the contacts for the polling places. We all helped with the rest of the election preparations. Kendall did help with all of this also including rotation of the ballots after printing . Was not her job to direct poll workers.
    #11 Was not Kendall’s job but either Joanne’s or mine. No reason for her to do this.
    #12 Why would she have done this? Not her job.
    #13 This is just a ridiculous thing to say about her, she was never a clerk
    #14 This was the election person’s job. Not Kendall’s
    #15 I believe I remember that the person writing the checks cannot reconcile them , so that would have been her.
    I hope this helps clarify my statement above and you can see that we each had our duties and was not crossed trained. This was not due to the fact that we refused to do anyone else’s job, but that we were to do our job and was not trained to do any of Joanne’s tasks. No one in the Clerk’s office or the Treasurer’s office was crossed trained for fear of one of us running against them. Hope this is a bit more clear to you, and I apologize for not being more specific on this in my previous post. Once again I will say that I have all the confidence in the world that Kendell can do the job and you do not have to have all the training that Joanne has stated. Barbara Wood was a very good clerk and was appointed by the Republicans without any prior training in any aspect of this job. Her help knew their jobs and she learned the rest.
    I never remember any of us refusing to do anything ask of us and hope that this election goes well. There will be a winner and a loser and we all know that life will go on. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  5. Based on what I have been reading here and elsewhere I do not see a reason to vote FOR Ms. Mason, nor AGAINST Ms. Long.

    I think it is shameful the way you, Ms. Kramer, and others in the Mason, camp have behaved for over a year. How can you sleep at night knowing what you are doing is so childish and hurtful? The things said by you and others on the internet have been absolutely terrible.

    From what I have seen, Ms. Long wouldn’t put up with poor work performance and I applaud that. Fort Scott needs more of that, if you ask me. This town has fallen so far down and the only way we are going to get it back is to expect professionalism and excellence in people.

    As for the statements above, you have made a very touching plea about why Ms. Mason doesn’t know the work. But it still looks like she doesn’t know it. No matter the reason, she can’t answer questions in a forum. She didn’t even dress for the event. It’s like she doesn’t care.

    I had family who served the county before. I am just lad this internet wasn’t available to bash on them the way you and others have been bashing on Ms. Long. It is a tragedy and it speaks volumes about you all.

    I encourage all Republicans in the promary to vote for Joanne Long, a woman with experience, excellence and a backbone! Then in the general election I encourage all others to talk to Ms. Long and ask whatever questions you have. I find her to be quite approachable, very professional, and ALWAYS helpful.

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