DALLAS — The Polk County Board of Commissioners has directed its legal staff to draft a resolution changing the duties of its elected treasurer.
In Polk County, which is required by law to have a treasurer, the job includes being the county’s financial manager in addition to the responsibilities required by Oregon statute.
Current Treasurer Linda Fox, also a certified public accountant, has been performing all of those duties for three terms. She will not be seeking a fourth term.
County leaders are nervous leaving the “financial manager” piece part of the office and allowing the next election to find the next person to fill that role. County Administrator Greg Hansen said Fox’s qualifications would be hard to match, but also required, as accounting rules are more complicated.
“I would be shocked if that occurred through that process,” Hansen said.
Hansen recommends reducing the position to the duties mandated by state law, which would make the position part time. The treasurer’s salary would be reduced accordingly to $1,000 a month, accounting for about 20 percent of Fox’s time.
Hansen said he wanted to have a decision made before the March filing deadline for the May primary to alert potential candidates about the changes.
The other 80 percent of Fox’s job is dedicated to running the finances of the county, managing about $60 million each year.
The move creates a new position of finance manager that comes with a monthly stipend of $5,850. The Polk County Compensation Board, the three nonelected members of the budget committee, approved Hansen’s recommendation, but the final say is with the commissioners.
The board didn’t take a vote on the recommendation at its meeting Tuesday, but it was leaning toward approving it.
“To me this just makes good business sense,” said Jennifer Wheeler, the board’s chairwoman. “We’ve gotten really, really lucky.”
Polk County’s attorney Morgan Smith said he would draft a resolution outlining the reorganization the change will require and the treasurer’s new duties for the board’s approval on Feb. 3.