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Chat with Mike Brinks and Elaine Sullivan, candidates for Moffat County treasurer

July 22, 2010

Candidates

Elaine Sullivan, Moffat County clerk and recorder, and Mike Brinks, accountant with Bonaker and Associates, are the Republican candidates for Moffat County treasurer on the Aug. 10 primary ballot.
Sullivan and Brinks will answer community questions regarding their candidacy, the election, roles of the treasurer and more.

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Moderator

Hello and welcome to the Craig Daily Press online chat with Moffat County treasurer candidates Elaine Sullivan and Mike Brinks. I'm Michelle Balleck, online content producer for the Craig Daily Press, and I will moderate today's chat. Thank you for taking the time to answer the community's questions about your candidacies, Mike and Elaine, and thank you to our readers for participating in today's chat.

A note to readers: Please be sure to refresh your page often throughout the chat to see the most up-to-date posts. Elaine and Mike, are you ready to begin?

Candidates

Mike - Yes

Candidates

Yes Michelle.

Moderator

Mike and Elaine, to be clear to readers on who is answering these questions, please preface each of your answers with your name. Also, to be fair, I will ask that you two take turns answering first. For this first question, I will ask that Mike answer first and Elaine second:

What spurred you to run for office?

Candidates

I feel that I am qualified for the position, have the experience in finance and investing and would like to serve the people of Moffat County.

Candidates

Elaine: I really enjoy working with the residents of Moffat County. I am a people person and wish to continue to serve.

Moderator

Elaine, please answer this reader's question first this time.

SlickRock

Will you or will you not retain the present employees of the Treasurer's Office?

Candidates

Elaine: Of course I would keep the present staff. I will rely on their expertise. I also would like to mention that I have worked with the staff for 25 years, respect them, and I have the support of the entire staff.

Candidates

Mike: I would like to retain the present employees, who have worked for the treasurer's office for a number of years and do a good job. They have the experience that is needed in the office. I have worked with most of the present staff both as the county auditor and as the finance director for the school district.

Moderator

Another reader, under the user name csualum, posted a couple of questions in one entry. So I am going to break them up individually. Mike, please answer first:

"What do you feel the most difficult aspect of taking office will be? for example...learning the computer system; facing budget cuts"

Candidates

Mike: Initially, getting to know that day to day routines that are presently in place. I will also face a learning curve in learning the computer system, but I will catch on to it quickly and it shouldn't be a problem. The budget for the 2011 year will be in place by the time the new treasurer takes office, so that will have to be dealt with at that time.

Candidates

Elaine: The ever changing laws on the Public Trustee side of the office will be the most difficult to keep up with. A law regarding shortening the foreclosure process went into effect on July 15th. This is similar with my current office as the recording fees have just changed, motor vehicle laws and election laws change very rapidly also. I have learned several new computer systems within our office and have adapted quickly to those changes. I have faced budget cuts and I am currently preparing the budget for my office.

Moderator

Another question from csualum below. Elaine, please answer first:

"The current Treasurer asserts that he works 11 hours a day. Do you feel this is required to fulfull the duties of the office? If yes, are you committed to such long hours?"

Candidates

I work whatever is required. Most days, I currently do not take a lunch hour, and leave at 5:30PM. During elections, we can put in about 12-14 hours daily. I am up to it!

Candidates

Mike: There may be a few days that need to be extended past the normal 8 hour workday, and I would work the hours that are necessary to get the job done. I don't believe that the job requires regular 11 hour workdays, but if it does, that is what I will do to fulfil my obligation.

Candidates

Elaine: Sorry. The last response was from me.

Moderator

Mike, please answer first:

What would be your goals for the treasurer’s office, both short-term and long-term?

Candidates

Mike: Short term would be to continue to serve the taxpayers in a friendly and efficient manner, and looks for ways to be more efficient with taxpayer dollars. To work with the commisioners on the budget and cash flow making sure that obligations are met on time.

Candidates

Elaine: I will continue to collect and distribute all funds according to law. I will continue to keep the investments safe. Short term: the office runs very smoothly and I will continue that level and provide the best customer service Moffat County has come to expect. Statutes determine time frame for functions of the office. I will stay current and follow the stated time lines.

Moderator

Elaine, please answer first:

How in depth have you analyzed the county’s budget and what recommendations would you make to tighten it up?

Candidates

Elaine: I have attended several budget meetings with department heads and Elected Officials. We are all working together to come up with solutions. My current office has recommended working four nine hour days, but staying open five days a week. Everyone is trying to suggest positive solutions.

Candidates

Elaine: Hellllllooooo. Anybody there?

Moderator

We're having a slight technical difficulty. Bear with us just a moment please.

Candidates

Mike: I have worked with the entire county budget in the past, and it is generally a good, tight document. For the Treaurer's budget, I think that the computer services budget needs to be looked at. It is about three times what the assessors and clerks computer budget is.

Moderator

Glad we got that issue resolved. Thank you for your patience.

Mike, please answer first:

If elected, would you be in favor of keeping the county’s money where it currently is or would you prefer to switch banks and/or the location? Why?

Candidates

Mike: As the auditor years ago, we recommended that the treasurer go out for bids for banking services, and it was never done. If elected, I would put the banking services out for bid to see if the present system is the best. I don't neccisarily have a preferance for which bank is used, but would use the one that serves the county's interests the best.

Candidates

Elaine: The main county operating account has been in the same bank since 1966. At the current time that bank is the only bank in Craig to offer collateral backing on all deposits over $250,000.00 which is the current FDIC insured deposit limit. We are talking about alot of services provided by that bank including direct deposits and credit card system. As Treasurer, I would review anually all banking and investment options. Furthermore, the BOCC passes a resolution in January of every year listing the approved depositories reviewed by the auditor as well as the Financial Board.

Moderator

Elaine, please answer first:

Why do you think voters should vote for you on Aug. 10?

Candidates

I have earned the trust of Moffat County residents and worked hard to serve them through great customer service and integrity. I have a good understanding of county policies and procedures. I have worked daily with the Treasurer's Office and I am comfortable with the duties required of the office.

Candidates

Mike: I have the education, experience and qualifications to handle the job of treasurer. My experience is over a wide range, including the private and public sectors. I have overseen and invested millions of dollars for the Moffat County School District along with overseeing the budget and been through budget cuts in the district. I also have experience in implementing internal accounting controls to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not misappropriated. I think that the taxpayers deserve elected officials who are qualified for the job for which they are elected.

Moderator

Well I think we’ll go ahead and wrap this up. Thank you both so much, Elaine and Mike, for taking part is this online chat. Do you have any final thoughts you'd like to share?

Candidates

Mike: Thank you for the forum to answer questions of the voters. I hope this has been informative and would encourage everyone to get out and vote in the upcoming election.

Candidates

Elaine: I have one more comment. Budget analysis, tax returns, and county audits are not required for this position of Treasurer. In terms of internal control an accountant would still need to learn the software as any entry level Treasurer clerk. The auditor will direct the Treasurer as to any internal controls that the auditor will require.

Candidates

Elaine: I have one more comment. Budget analysis, tax returns, and county audits are not required for this position of Treasurer. In terms of internal control an accountant would still need to learn the software as any entry level Treasurer clerk. The auditor will direct the Treasurer as to any internal controls that the auditor will require.

Candidates

Thank you Michelle. I would appreciate your support on August 10th! Elaine

Comments

Lawspecialist 4 years, 4 months ago

Alright then. Everyone vote, vote, vote! Just be really careful, sometimes you get more than you bargain for. I believe Mike owned his own business with his brother? IPM Supply? Elaine, ugg. Let's see, to keep it short, she "copied" off the previous clerk's budget for an example and had Lila do most of it for her, she only wants to be the Treasurer because she has no where else to go and God forbid if she should have to get a real job. She likes working in public offices so she can gossip and get into everyone's business. Support of the entire staff? HA! That's a good one. Those women can't stand her! They just don't say anything because THEY NEED THEIR JOBS! I hope you win Mike and if Elaine wins,.... watch your back people, she has a very sharp sword and she does use it regularly! (p.s. update at 10.....law suit at 11)

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