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September 1, 2011

 

Candidate objects to treasurer changes

Republican running for position will have reduced role in managing county finances

By CATHERINE WILDE
Staff Reporter
cwilde@cortlandstandard.net

Cortland County treasurer candidate Cynthia Monroe said that given the recent changes within the Treasurer’s Office, she is now signed up for a job with unknown duties, hours and pay.
“I wish everything had stayed the same,” Monroe said, adding she is concerned there is not enough support staff in the office.
In July, the county Legislature voted 12-6 to shift all accounting functions from the Treasurer’s Office to the county administrator.
A month later the Legislature voted to abolish the deputy treasurer position, creating instead a fiscal officer within the administrator’s department.
Monroe, a Republican, plans to step down from her current position as Solon town supervisor. She is running unopposed.
Legislators have discussed decreasing the treasurer’s salary grade from the current $57,599 to $70,078 range to $25,669, but that failed by a vote of 8-10 in July. Legislators might take up that idea as well as the idea of reducing the treasurer’s hours, at future committee meetings.
“When all the dust settles, whatever it turns out to be I’ll work hard to do all my best for the taxpayers,” Monroe said.
County Treasurer Patrick O’Mara said the changes have resulted in something close to chaos in the office.
O’Mara said the five positions in the office all intermingle with one another but three are now under the direction of County Administrator Martin Murphy while one remains under the treasurer’s oversight.
The three employees who are now under the oversight of the county administrator are the deputy county treasurer, fiscal officer and principal account clerk. The delinquent tax receiver is still under the treasurer.
O’Mara said these job functions previously included “keeping everything up to date and doing other functions required by other departments.”
O’Mara said now department heads do not know who to go to for certain things.
“I don’t think it’s been good at all,” O’Mara said. “I think they’ve made moves without knowing what the Treasurer’s Office does.”
Through the changes, the Legislature is attempting to ensure timely reporting and up to date account reconciliation, things that officials have faulted the Treasurer’s Office for not doing in past years.
County Administrator Martin Murphy says he is reassessing job priorities to ensure the most important functions are prioritized.
Murphy plans to reconcile the general fund and the “due to, due from” account by September.
The duties of the treasurer remain unchanged, said O’Mara, since the state outlines those functions.
These duties include collecting tax payments, handling delinquent taxes and installment plans and executing estate planning.
O’Mara said even if the salary and hours are reduced, it will still be a full-time job.
“There’s no way this position should be cut,” O’Mara said.
The treasurer would have to deputize someone to carry on the position’s duties in his or her absence, Monroe said.
Monroe has previous experience in the office from 1980 to 2000, first handling payroll and then as deputy treasurer.
Monroe worked with current Deputy Treasurer Carolyn Kennedy in the past and would not comment on their working relationship at the time.
“I get along with everybody,” Monroe said. “You have to when you’re working.”

 

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