In the political race this year for Inyo Treasurer-Tax Collector, candidates have conducted a very civilized campaign with no
public sniping or attacks. Through forum questions, some issues have surfaced – questions of financial knowledge, days of the week worked and customer service.
At the Bishop Candidates Forum, several people asked Treasurer Alicia McMurtrie how many days of the week she works. One questioner said they understood she had worked two or three days a week before her challenger filed to run.
McMurtrie said that there is no set schedule for department heads. She said the allegation that she has only worked two days per week is a “false statement.” McMurtrie said she has a home office and spends a lot of time with other departments. After the Forum, we asked McMurtrie how many days of the week she does work. She then said that “some health issues keep me from being there.” The Treasurer said she felt that was personal and had not brought it up.
To the same question, challenger Jeff Buss said he has a strong work ethic and pledges to be on the job and available five days a week.
On the question of experience for the job, Buss, who is a Vice President for Eastern Sierra Community Bank, said he brings 35 years of real-world banking to the position of Treasurer. Buss has graduate degrees in accounting, finance and business administration. “My experience sets me apart,” he said.
Treasurer McMurtrie named her experience as senior finance manager and assistant to Treasurer John Treacy and education credits from the State Treasurers’ Office. “I have 10 years of on the job training,” she said, “in treasury management and tax collection.” McMurtrie underscored that she and her staff balance the County’s money daily. “It was $96 million today,” she told one Forum crowd.
Buss pointed to his work with lending and office management. McMurtrie pointed to her years in the Army Signal Corps.
To criticism of her office’s customer service habits, McMurtrie said, “The ladies know customer service is a number one priority. John Treacy set the bar high,” she said, “and we maintain it.” McMurtrie said after addressing accusations of poor customer service, she concluded that “no one has a problem.”
Candidate Jeff Buss called customer service the ability to listen to a person’s real request and take responsibility for the answers. “Communication is important. You need to listen to understand what is needed and bridge the gaps.” Buss said his banking experience has taught him how to make customers feel comfortable and to provide service.