Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Jordan, Canfield vie for Burns Harbor Clerk Treasurer post

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

and KEVIN NEVERS

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 Clerk-Treasurer.

The Chesterton Tribune invited both candidates to respond to a questionnaire.

The Tribune reserved the right to edit the responses for length.

(1) Age, occupation, number of years lived in town.

Jane M. Jordan: 48; Burns Harbor Clerk-Treasurer; 25-year resident.

Timothy Canfield: 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.

Timothy Canfield: 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.

For Timothy 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 town’s finances.

For Timothy 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.

Timothy Canfield: 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.

Although 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.

Timothy Canfield: 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 the office.

(7) Differentiate 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.

Clerk-Treasurers 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.

Timothy Canfield: 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.

 

 

 

Posted 10/19/2015

 
 
 
 

 

 

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