Read Brenda Wood's responses in this article: Brenda Wood, Candidate for Fredericksburg Treasurer.
Following are the complete, unedited responses from Rita Girard.
1 - Why are you running for treasurer?
I believe that the Treasurer’s office needs a change after 44 years of one administration. It will take an outside perspective to see and fix the things that need to be changed. I believe that I can make those improvements. The citizens of Fredericksburg deserve good service and fair treatment by our tax office.
I’ve been walking and knocking on doors for the last two months – talking to the voters of Fredericksburg – and here is what I have been hearing:
- People want a modernized Treasurer’s office and to be able to pay their bills from their smart phones
- If they do go into the office - they don’t want to stand in line 10 – 15 minutes to pay their taxes or have to go to 2 and 3 people to get serviced
- They want the staff to be cross-trained
- They want the website payment options to be easier to navigate and don’t want to pay the steep credit card fees
- But the story I hear over and over again has to do with people getting their water shut off!
- I’ve heard from numerous people who had paid their bill, or who were set up on auto pay, who owed $1.30 or who had not received warning (until after the fact) who all had their water turned off! So I checked numbers.
- Of the 9500 households in Fredericksburg, last year there were 1459 water shut offs! To me, that’s says there’s a problem with the system and it needs to be looked at.
2 - What specific qualifications would you bring to the position of treasurer?
My degree is in Business Communications. My strength is good management skills. I have managed the 16 employees and prepared the two required budgets (one for the City and one for the State) of over a million dollars in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for four years.
In the last four years I have been able to introduce technological and procedural systems as well as facilitate a redistribution of the workload that has modernized and streamlined the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office to make it more professional and effective. I can do the same thing for the Treasurer’s Office. It is time for a change.
In preparation for this position I completed a two-day comprehensive course – “the Roles and Responsibilities of the Treasurer” which is sponsored by the Treasurer’s Association of Virginia. In addition, I have completed two Governmental Accounting courses through Radford University. I have met with many key people in the City to assess what changes are needed in the Treasurer’s office and have recently met with the City’s IT Director to explore how we can make the Treasurer’s website page more user friendly.
3 - What do you plan to accomplish during your tenure should voters choose you for the position of treasurer?
When elected Treasurer, here are some of the changes I will make.
- Offer electronic billing and promote automatic payment plans
- Make the Treasurer’s website page more user-friendly
- Bill personal property taxes twice a year
- Reduce or eliminate the credit card fees we now pay
- Cross train the Treasurer’s staff to extend better customer service for our citizens
- Expand business hours beyond 4 PM one night a week
- Revise the current water shut off policy
I have the support of Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw, Councilor Bea Paolucci, Sheriff Paul Higgs, Commonwealth’s Attorney La Bravia Jenkins, Clerk of the Court Jeff Small, Former Mayor Reverend Lawrence Davies, Former Mayor Bill Beck, Former Mayor Bill Greenup, Former Vice Mayor Billy Withers and many other leaders of the City. Those who are familiar with the inner workings of the City know that it is time for a change and believe I am the person to make that happen. I hope you will support me as well and vote for me on November 5th.Rita Girard
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