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February 9, 2012

 

Treasurer adapting to scaled-down job

With many duties shifted to county administrator, Cindy Monroe still busy with less to do

TreasurerBob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortland County Treasurer Cindy Monroe works Tuesday at her desk in the County Office Building.

By CATHERINE WILDE
Staff Reporter
cwilde@cortlandstandard.net

Despite a pared down job, Cortland County Treasurer Cindy Monroe said she’s adjusting to her new job and dealing with the public on tax issues.
“I’m enjoying every minute of it,” said Monroe, who said she likes meeting with the public and helping people.
Monroe, who was elected treasurer in November after incumbent Patrick O’Mara decided not to run again, started work at the beginning of January.
As she sat in the Treasurer’s Office Monday, Monroe said she’s busy all day long, despite the office’s accounting functions being shifted under the county administrator’s oversight last July.
County Administrator Martin Murphy took on these functions last year after repeated complaints about untimely reports and accounts not being reconciled within the Treasurer’s Office. Since then he has balanced accounts and has reported being pleased with the progress.
The shift caused legislators to lower the treasurer’s salary to a range of about $33,000 to $40,000 instead of the previous $57,599 to $70,078 range. Monroe’s salary annual is $33,106.
Monroe said she did not think the shift was necessary but did not complain about the revised job requirements. Her hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Issues related to taxes take up the bulk of her time, she said.
Arranging installment payments with residents who have difficulty paying their taxes is a task in high demand these days, said Monroe. She added that the economy and health issues are the two most common reasons residents enter installment agreements.
These agreements allow the resident two years to pay their taxes, though they must be up to date on the current year’s tax payments while doing so.
Monroe said she is also familiarizing herself with the tax foreclosure procedure.
The properties from 2010 will be auctioned this year, though the list of foreclosed properties is now being finalized through the courts, which determine whether proper foreclosure proceedings were followed.
Property owners then have until nine days prior to the tax sale auction to redeem their properties.
Monroe was deputy treasurer with the county from 1989 to 2001 and she says the role of the treasurer has not changed much since then despite several job duties being removed last year.
The treasurer never handled accounting functions directly but would oversee that they were being handled in a timely manner, said Monroe. Now Murphy is providing that oversight instead.
Three treasurer positions were shifted to the administrator’s oversight: deputy treasurer, fiscal officer and account clerk. Those staff members remain in the Treasurer’s Office and Monroe said Murphy meets with them as needed but does not oversee them from within her office. Monroe has two delinquent-tax receivers under her supervision.
The staff members all help each other as needed, she said.
“The whole office is a very nice group of people that gets along very well,” Monroe said.
She added that the three positions handling the accounting ultimately deal with cash receipts but anyone who is available in the office at the time will receive the payments from departments and pass them on. And in return, those three positions will help with certificates of residency or other duties which Treasurer’s Office staff handles.
“The two delinquent tax receivers are the first responders for taxpayers ... but the other girls will help if everybody’s busy,” Monroe said.
Monroe was Solon town supervisor for 13 years before stepping down this year to be treasurer. Monroe said her previous experience as deputy treasurer and doing payroll helped her with her supervisory functions.
As supervisor she had to work with people constantly, an experience that has carried over to her duties as treasurer.

 

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