Candidate questionnaire: Janice Dickson
The Dickson File
Janice Dickson, Republican
Occupation: Deputy county clerk
Married: Will marry David Van Parys on Dec. 1 and name will change to Janice Van Parys.
Experience: 10 years county government experience; before that was a medical transcriptionist for 10 years.
Education: Attended legal program at Johnson County Community College; certified county clerk through Wichita State University.
Q: Why did you decide to run for county treasurer? What would be your top priority if elected?
A: When I heard that Janice Young was going to retire and not file for re-election, I decided immediately that I would file for County Treasurer. I knew that it would be difficult for the County to lose a 16-year incumbent. The position of County Treasurer is specific to county government and there is no training to prepare for it; unless you have worked in county government. This position requires immediate knowledge of the county’s tax structure and finances. My top priority, if elected, would be to continue to promote quality customer service and to provide a smooth transition for both the staff, taxpayers, and the taxing entities that receive tax distributions. Other priorities would be to work to upgrade the financial management system and to continue to work with the Department of Revenue on the improvement of the new motor vehicles system (MVRS).
Q: How does your experience qualify you for this office?
A: As Deputy County Clerk, I work daily with the county’s finances in reviewing all budget expenditures and fund balances, reconciling the county’s bank accounts and balancing the daily transactions in the treasurer’s office. I am a Certified County Clerk and am fully aware of the demands on the treasurer’s office. The county treasurer must monitor short term investments and expenditures on a daily basis, as well as have funds readily available for operating expenses. I am familiar with the operations of the office and I feel that I am the best candidate for the job.
Q: What are the biggest challenges facing the treasurer’s office?
A: The biggest challenge that faces the county treasurer’s office is working with the new motor vehicle program that has been mandated by the State of Kansas. The taxpayers have been paying a $4 “modernization” fee for motor vehicle transactions since 2009 to pay for this system. The State of Kansas is now proposing extending the fee to pay for the problems the program is having. I don’t believe the taxpayers should have to “foot the bill” for this. I believe the Legislature should hold the vendor, 3M, accountable for producing and delivering a deficient product. The problems with this system do not only affect the taxpayers at the window, but there are other issues on the opposite side of the counter for the workers. Through networking and problem solving, I intend to work with other counties on the problems they are facing with the system as well.
Q: Are there any areas in the treasurer’s office you would like to improve?
A: As stated in a previous question, I would like to improve the county’s financial management program. We are currently working on an old DOS-based system. I believe if we had a windows-based system it would be more efficient. A new windows-based system would have to interface with the new motor vehicle system and current tax system. A software application like this could be very costly for the county and would ultimately be an expense that would have to be approved by the Board of County Commissioners.
Q: Why should voters select you instead of your opponent?
A: I believe that whoever is elected for this position has to have knowledge of governmental accounting procedures, the county’s motor vehicle, ad valorem, and 16/20m tax structure, as well as all of the county funds and how they relate to the county’s budget. There is no way to know this unless you have gained institutional knowledge from working in county government. I also feel that I have a good working relationship with current staff, county elected officials, and the general public.