Republican candidates for county treasurer tout knowledge of office, financial training | Local Government5 min read
Two Republicans challenging incumbent Rachel Garver for Lancaster County treasurer say they’d use their experience to improve services in the office.
Tracy Refior, a financial adviser, and Jasmine Gibson, a title clerk in the treasurer’s office, are both Republicans, and the winner of the primary will face Garver, a Democrat, in the general election.
The treasurer handles all deposits and tax receipts, and invests county funds; and the office handles all motor vehicle registration, titles and license plates and provides space for driver’s license examiners.
Refior, 52, is a financial adviser and small business owner, grew up in North Platte and came to Lincoln in 1988 to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He earned a degree in political science and speech communication.
In 1993, he became a financial adviser, and owns a storage facility in Eagle. He made an unsuccessful bid for Lincoln Airport Authority last year.
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He said his experience as a small business owner and a fiduciary who understands investments makes him the most qualified to run the office, which handles nearly $300 million in investments.
“I’m the only small business owner who’s running,” he said. “I know how to treat my customers and how to run a business. And make no mistake, the county treasurer’s office is a business.”
He said he also knows what it takes to run a business day to day and would look at even small ways to save money, such as using LED lights.
“My grandfather always told me you watch your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves,” he said.
He said he would bring better transparency, integrity and honesty to the office. One way to be more transparent, he said, is to post more current tax collections on the website. He might consider a monthly newsletter to keep taxpayers better informed about the workings of the office.
He said he’d also work to make the office more efficient by improving technology, perhaps introducing kiosks at the front door to reduce wait times by better directing customers to open windows.
“I’m proven,” he said. “I believe I can help the citizens of Lancaster County.”
Gibson, 40, is a Lincoln native who has worked for the treasurer’s office for about six years and says she will use her experience and knowledge of the office to improve service to customers.
“I know how everything works,” said Gibson, who is a title clerk but has held other positions in the office.
Gibson said the most important part of the job is handling the title, registration and license plate transactions with the public.
Many of the changes she said she would make are simple but would increase efficiency and reduce lines. For instance, a person doesn’t need to be standing at the door directing people to open windows because they often don’t know which transactions will finish most quickly.
Instead, the person at the front door could be helping people with transactions, thereby reducing the wait time, and better using employees now assigned to help people with appointments, especially when there are none.
“These are simple little things but I think added together it will help so much,” she said.
She said she’d also increase the office’s social media presence to better publicize that people can make appointments and make it easier to sign up, as well as increase the ways people get registration renewal notices.
She said she’d also move the desk designed to help people with disabilities back to the front of the office.
Employees have made such suggestions but to no avail, she said.
Gibson said she’d also reopen five positions now not being filled, and find ways to better retain staff because that’s been a problem.
Having financial experience is important, she said, but to use that experience the treasurer needs to know how to process all the payments that come into the office, and she’s the only candidate who knows how to do that.
Before working for the treasurer’s office, she managed a storage facility for about five years. A mother of four, she has completed a degree in behavioral science from Bellevue University and is working on a business management degree from Western Governors University.
“I love serving the public,” she said. “It bothers me how things are run because I know they could be better.”
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