In the Burns Harbor
municipal election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, Democrat incumbent Jane M. Jordan
will face Republican challenger Timothy Canfield in the race for
Tribune invited both candidates to respond to a questionnaire.
reserved the right to edit the responses for length.
occupation, number of years lived in town.
Jane M. Jordan:
48; Burns Harbor Clerk-Treasurer; 25-year resident.
41; graphic designer; 11-year resident.
(2) Describe the
duties of the Burns Harbor Clerk-Treasurer. (100 words)
Jane M. Jordan:
The Clerk-Treasurer’s Office has evolved dramatically from bookkeeper and
secretary to financial manager whose responsibilities impact the financial
well-being of local government. The Clerk-Treasurer manages the accounts,
prepares financial statements and government reports, participates in
audits, and invests town money. Responsibilities include bond records and
payments, collecting utility bills, purchasing and payroll manager, budget
officer, insurance administrator, and personnel director. The
Clerk-Treasurer keeps minutes and maintains all official records.
Clerk-Treasurers are problem-solvers, researchers, and historians. They
administer oaths, perform marriages and are frequently the person you call
to answer questions about everything.
The Clerk-Treasurer in Burns Harbor plays a unique roll as a traditional
Clerk-Treasurer but also as the primary contact for the town. I would love
the chance to give back to my community and have the opportunity to grow
with the town and help it advance for the future of our children. I am
committed to continuing the strong financial performance of the town while
bringing an emphasis to bringing a level of personal professionalism and
teamwork to the office. Our town is on the cusp of many opportunities and I
want to be a part of the next team.
(3) For Jane M.
Jordan: Describe your accomplishments in office. (125 words): I made
paying off debt a priority; refinancing and early payment of bonds saved
taxpayers over $700,000 in interest. I created a Rainy Day Fund to help
safeguard against future financial concerns.
I managed several
improvement projects. Town hall was made ADA compliant. Fire alarm and smoke
detectors were upgraded. Energy efficient lighting was installed; telephone
wiring and phone system replaced; computer network wiring and a computer
network installed. Asset tracking and document scanning were completed.
I was awarded
several certifications for outstanding achievements in leadership, public
service, continuing education and professional qualifications. Two more
notable: Master Municipal Clerk, held by only 26 of Indiana’s 563
Clerk-Treasurers; and Certified Public Finance Administrator, held by only
nine of the 563.
Canfield: What are your qualifications for the seat of Clerk-Treasurer? (125
words): I come from an office environment with 20+ years of experience,
15 of which were at Ernst & Young one of the biggest accounting firms in the
world. One day you are working on a project and the next minute you're sent
in a totally different direction. I have managed over 6,000 projects. I
demonstrate the ability to identify process improvement areas and problem
solving with independent decision-making. I am able to juggle multiple
projects exceeding expectation and in a timely manner. In managing those
projects, I am then able to identify what future projects need to be started
in order to achieve an overarching goal of the organizations success. These
are the skills I would bring to the Town of Burns Harbor.
(4) For Jane M.
Jordan: Why are you seeking re-election? (100 words): I love my job and
understand its many complex processes. In 2010 I thought Burns Harbor’s Net
Assessed Value (NAV) was high. After convincing county officials to
recalculate the NAV, a $126 million error was uncovered, requiring all
taxing units in the County be issued revised tax rates. This year, I
believed the Town’s NAV was low. An Auditor’s review uncovered an increased
assessed value error of over $24 million. In these days of property-tax
caps, reduced tax distributions, and unfunded mandates, it’s critical for
Burns Harbor to have an experienced, proven Clerk-Treasurer. I know this
Canfield: Why have you decided to run for this office? (100 words): I
feel very strongly that our community needs personal professionalism in this
office. I am committed to our community and feel that this position would
allow me to contribute to the community at large in a positive way. I want
to be fully involved in the daily responsibilities and in the future of our
town and community. I’m committed to maintaining, increasing, and
contributing, now and moving forward. I have spent many evenings in the
audience of council meetings and now I wish to spend my days assisting that
same council in making wise financial decisions.
(5) How will you
maintain good service with residents and those who do business with the
town? (125 words)
Jane M. Jordan:
Using my computer and business experience, I would continue my efforts
upgrading and installing technology to increase productivity and streamline
communications. I support the town’s website use to help attract new
businesses to diversify our tax base.
To keep residents
informed, I would add more content and record access pertaining to my office
available on the website and address concerns that finding and retrieving
information on the site is difficult. I know that not every resident is
comfortable with the Internet so, I will continue to mail out informational
bulletins, something I have done for years, at my own expense.
Every year I work
to improve my skills, run an efficient office and add to my education to do
a better job serving Burns Harbor.
I feel that being genuine with your customers goes a long way when it
comes to maintaining relationships. Listening to our customers is an easy
way to maintain relationships. Emphasis on customer success is a pivotal
focus point. To provide support to the town’s customers, they will, in turn,
reward me with loyalty and valuable feedback. I will need to keep in touch
by maintaining these relationships.
(6) Do you plan to
make any changes if you win? (75 words)
Jane M. Jordan:
I am already researching electronic bill paying for residents that want to
pay sanitary bills with credit or bank cards. I am exploring the idea of
using digital versions of contractors’ applications and license renewal
forms to save money and reduce processing time.
Clerk-Treasurers don’t vote on town policy except to break a tie, I will
advocate for a second monthly council meeting to improve residents’
accessibility and communications.
Sure, I would make changes. First of all I would need to observe the
responsibilities to the job and how they were done in the past. Once I start
working with the town council and town departments I can see what changes
need to be addressed. I then can bring in my view to the position. Once I
have a grasp on the needs of the community. I can make necessary changes to
yourself from your opponent and indicate why you believe yourself to be the
better candidate. (100 words)
Jane M. Jordan:
I’ve been Clerk-Treasurer for 12 years, have a master’s degree in
supervision, served on various town boards, and am an adjunct professor
teaching accounting, business, and computers.
When first elected,
Bethlehem Steel had just filed bankruptcy and stopped paying property taxes
for four years. The town lost 80 percent in assessed value and 50 percent in
property tax revenue. Helping guide the Town through “the bankruptcy” was an
experience you cannot buy.
are entrusted with millions of tax dollars. My record, accomplishments,
background, and education show I am the better candidate to keep Burns
Harbor financially sound.
My opponent has served the town well up to this point. I feel I am the
better candidate to help the town move forward. Team building, availability,
and communication with the Town Council are where I will differentiate
myself. I am eager to learn the specifics of the position and I have a
proven ability to learn the skills needed to be an effective
Clerk-Treasurer. I am looking to build on the success the town has in
growing by looking at challenges from a different perspective.