Mistakes made by the Barton County Treasurer’s Office in recent years haven’t gone unnoticed across the state. The new County Treasurer, Jim Jordan, said it will take time to improve his department’s image.
Jordan was the guest speaker at Wednesday’s Noon Kiwanis meeting.
“We’re trying to change the culture up there a little bit to make it a more welcoming environment,” Jordan said. “We need to do our job right, every time.”
The county treasurer’s office has been plagued with errors since 2014. Last August, the Great Bend Tribune reported that a former employee in the office had mailed license plates to the wrong individuals, so tag numbers did not match the stickers and registration receipts. Other problems in the past three years have included delays in making tax distributions and other time-sensitive duties.
Jordan said all of Barton County’s mistakes gave his office a “horrible” reputation with other Kansas treasurers.
“They did not appreciate it,” he said. “It makes all the treasurers look bad because of what happened here.”
Jordan was elected last November but was not sworn in as treasurer until Oct. 10 of this year. However, he started working with his predecessor, Kevin Wondra, two months earlier. “Kevin was gracious and let me come in,” he said.
Jordan started educating himself on the duties of treasurer shortly after he was elected.
“I spent the last year traveling around the state to different counties, to see how they operated,” he said. “I spent two months in Hays because they mirror our county pretty closely. (We have the) same software systems.”
Barton County Appraiser Barb Esfeld, who is president of the Kiwanis chapter, recalled how her office also had a bad reputation when she first came there.
“It took about four years to get that reputation back up,” she said. “It doesn’t take long to ruin it at the state level.”
Esfeld said she was impressed with how Jordan has prepared for the job and has started changing things. The September tax distributions were made on time, a trend that Jordan said he hopes to continue.
He also hopes to speed up the service in his department and eliminate the long lines of people waiting to pay their taxes.
“It will be better when I get fully staffed,” he said. Also, he hopes to get a drop box on the first floor of the courthouse, so people can drop off payments instead of coming to his second-story office and standing in line.