Weatherford Democrat

February 8, 2014

Q&A: The race for Parker County treasurer


Weatherford Democrat

— The WD recently sent questionnaires to the candidates in contested county races in the March 4 primary elections. The candidates were asked to provide background information and answers, in 300 words or less, to questions posed to them. Early voting begins Feb. 18. Today we look at the Republican primary candidates for county treasurer Jenny Barnwell and Dedra Vick. There is no Democratic opponent.

MEET THE CANDIDATES

Name: Jenny Barnwell

Age: 61

Occupation: Parker County treasurer

Spouse/family: Married to Dewey Barnwell for 40 years. We have one son and two grandchildren.

Educational background: Graduated from Arlington Heights High School in 1970; graduated with an Applied Science Degree from Tarrant County Junior College in 1973; attended Weatherford College and completed 120 hours in real estate and classes in business law; eight years of continuing education with the Texas College of Probate Judges; educational courses on investments, passing and acquiring my Series 6, 7 and 63 investment licenses, as well as the Group One insurance license; 13 years of continuing education for investments and insurance.

Professional affiliations: County Treasurers Association of Texas and a member of the legislative committee for the County Treasurers Association.

Community involvement: Board director for the M&L Water Supply Corporation, Weatherford Rotary Club, associate member of the Parker County Republican Women and a member of the Bush Legacy Republican Women. I have served as Bush Legacy’s past president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and director.

Why do you believe you are the best candidate for the position of Parker County treasurer? Why should a voter cast their ballot for you in the March primary?

I have 32-plus years of combined business/investment experience which gives me an advantage of being able to immediately work within the parameters of the county treasurer’s position without having to be trained.

I am the only candidate that applied for this position when it became open because it is a position that I truly wanted and worked hard to receive the appointment from the commissioners.

As your county treasurer and a taxpayer, I am concerned that our money has been placed in money market accounts for years without being reviewed to see if there were any better options for our tax dollars.

With my experience in investments I have the ability to implement an active management style of investing for tax dollars. I believe that every dollar earned in revenue is a dollar less the taxpayer will have to pay.



How would you describe the primary responsibilities of the position and the office?

There are numerous responsibilities for the county treasurer. The most important duties are: payroll administrator, chief investment officer, reconciliation agent, negotiator for bank depository contracts and management of all facets of banking services for Parker County. These areas take experience and on-the-job management.

Daily management is required for investments and reconciliation of bank accounts. Other responsibilities include being statutory supervisor for unclaimed funds/property, custodian for the sheriff’s bail bond collateral, as well as serving as a statutory member of the Bail Bond Board.

The treasurer is also required to report monthly, quarterly and/or annual federal, state and county reports and payments for Parker County. The treasurer’s office handles all accounts payable and receivables and payments to jurors.

Is there a specific program or operational change you would make in the next four years to make the office more streamlined, cost-or-performance efficient and customer friendly?

Since being appointed county treasurer, I have revised the Investment Policy that hasn’t been reviewed in years. I now have the ability to implement an active management style using different investment strategies to make the taxpayers money work, while staying within the guidelines of the Public Funds Investment Act.

This is part of the treasurer’s fiduciary responsibility which I take very seriously. I have implemented the new financial system that was previously purchased by the county. We now have a new payroll system up and running and more user friendly for employees. We are working on the new accounts payable and receivable programs to make the office more efficient.

Two areas that I am looking to change are payments to vendors and jurors. By streamlining these two areas I can save the taxpayers money and lower the cost of my budget.



Is there anything else you would like to accomplish within the treasurer’s office in the next term if elected?

I want to accomplish earning enough revenue from our investments to be able to help the county hire more deputies, give raises when needed or use the revenues as needed. By earning more revenue from our investments will hopefully keep the taxpayer from having to pay more taxes in the years to come.

I want to be an active elective official that strives to protect the taxpayer through my position. I still maintain that for every dollar of revenue earned will be a dollar less that the taxpayer has to pay. I believe that it is every elected official’s fiduciary responsibility to manage money wisely and efficiently for the taxpayer.

I would like to see the treasurer’s office become more involved in the budget process. My experience and qualifications can lend an extra eye for the budget process.

Another area that I would like to complete is the information that can be readily accessed on the county’s new website. By placing the monthly reports and other information for the public to access makes my office more transparent to the public.

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Name: Dedra Vick

Age: 46

Occupation: Evidence technician

Spouse/family: Charley Vick; son, Nathan.

Educational background: Weatherford schools K-12; Weatherford College Cosmetology certificate; Evidence Technician certification.

Professional affiliations: Texas Association of Property and Evidence Inventory Technicians (T.A.P.E.I.T).

Community involvement: Zonta, Republican Women of Weatherford, Bush Legacy Women of Weatherford, Northside Pride Committee, Springtown Optimist, East Parker County Chamber of Commerce.

Why do you believe you are the best candidate for the position of Parker County treasurer? Why should a voter cast their ballot for you in the March primary?

During my 25 years as a successful business owner, I developed a keen eye for details, honed my organizational skills, and demonstrated my ability to uphold fiscal responsibility. I believe that my extensive experience, acquired over the years, makes me the best candidate for the position because the qualifications and duties of treasurer are comparable to those of a business owner.

The duties and responsibilities of both jobs require you to manage accounts, maintain detailed records, apply sound financial and investment practices, prepare timely financial reports, and manage employees.

When people cast their vote for me, I guarantee to honor them by respectfully conducting the duties of the office diligently, ethically, and with the public’s best interest in mind. I will promote a common-sense, conservative approach to government.

How would you describe the primary responsibilities of the position and the office?

The primary responsibility of all elected officials is that of a servant and steward to the public, but I think this is especially significant for the treasurer. The treasurer should be ever-mindful of the taxpayers’ money and have good communication within the county departments.

As chief custodian of all county funds, the responsibility basically lies in three categories: receipt of funds, disbursement of funds, and accounting for the funds.

Is there a specific program or operational change you would make in the next four years to make the office more streamlined, cost- or performance-efficient and customer friendly?

When elected I will actively monitor the day-to-day operations to make sure that our current technology is operational. Things like cross-training staff and implementing technology will be top priorities as we work to provide the best service possible for the taxpayers our customers.



Is there anything else you would like to accomplish or change within the treasurer’s office in the next term if elected?

My initial mission will be to ensure a smooth transition into office and that all policies are followed. I will accomplish this by learning every job in the office. I hope to encourage discussion and receive feedback from the presiding commissioners and other department heads on this topic by instilling an open-door policy.