SYRACUSE — There is only one political race playing out in Syracuse for the primary election. Incumbent Paula Kehr-Wicker has been challenged by Virginia Cazier for the office of Syracuse Clerk-Treasurer.
The Mail-Journal posed a few questions to both candidates. Below are their answers.
What are your qualification for clerk-treasurer?
Cazier — “Twenty-two plus years of experience working for the town of Syracuse. Communicating issues and concerns with our residents. Water and wastewater permits, invoicing, claim processing, payroll, balancing the public works budget on a monthly basis. Gathering information for the town council monthly reports. Working with (the) Indiana Department of Environmental Management on our water and wastewater monthly reports and working with contractors.
“Good working relationships with the administration and the community ….
“I volunteer in my community, assisting in Wellhead Protection Board, (Syracuse) Tree Board and Women of Today.
“Being knowledgeable and making it a priority to be informed on projects and events throughout the town of Syracuse.”
Kehr-Wicker — “I have an associate’s degree in accounting from International Business College, Fort Wayne. I have over 18 years of experience in the clerk’s office working in both accounts payable and receivable. Before becoming clerk-treasurer in 2016 I assisted the previous clerk-treasurer with payroll and budgets to advance my knowledge and become qualified to run as clerk-treasurer in 2015. In the years prior to my becoming clerk-treasurer I completed the requirements and earned my Indiana Accredited Municipal Clerk certification through the Indiana League of Municipal Clerk-Treasurer’s … .
“Finally, I was audited in October 2018 and the auditor found one minor discrepancy during a month-long audit. I think that speaks volumes on the necessity to keep someone in this position who makes sure the town doesn’t falter. In other words it’s not broken and doesn’t need to be fixed.”
What do you see your role as clerk-treasurer?
Cazier — “Open door policy and professional customer service to our taxpayers and coworkers. Building teamwork and cross training in the clerk’s office. Setting up systems to make sure obligations and deadlines are met. Balancing department budgets and paying claims on time. Staying on top of regulation and account practices.”
Kehr-Wicker — “First and foremost I am the town’s chief financial officer. I am the custodian of all of the town’s finances and records. It’s my duty to ensure our funds are spent responsibly and invested wisely. I act as the taxpayer’s liaison with the town council on all issues related to financial matters. I interact with the public ensuring mailings and notices are sent out. I provide guidance on town ordinances and I make sure legal notices are properly promulgated. I am the human resources officer for all town employees. I am responsible for all the employees’ wages, records and reporting. I act as a tie-breaking vote when there is an even number of council members voting on matters.”
What challenges do you see the office of clerk-treasurer addressing in the future?
Cazier — “Making sure we follow the regulations and accounting practices set by the State Board of Accounts. Look for cost cutting opportunities to save the taxpayers money.”
Kehr-Wicker — “Whether it’s federal, state or local laws, the clerk-treasurer must make sure the town is always in full financial and administrative compliance. Laws and regulations are constantly changing. Whether it’s the reporting of expenditures for motor vehicle highway funds, utility billing procedures or even labor laws, making sure our town is complying is a crucial role in this office. As the town grows, so do the responsibilities. Currently I am assisting the town manager, the council and others with working on a solution for the flood control structure repair project … .”