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.