Posted: Friday, June 29th 2012 at 11:21am
Elections 2012: Darla Eden
By Kevin West Administrator
NAME: Darla Eden
POLITICAL PARTY AFFILIATION: Republican
OCCUPATION: Certified Public Accountant (CPA)/Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jim Walters/Walters Management Co.
1) Why are you running for this office?
I am running for this office because in reflecting on my 22 years of tax, audit and financial experience, I enjoyed the years in public service the most. After prayerful thought and deliberation, it became apparent to me that serving the taxpayers with the experience that I have gained makes the most sense at this time in my life. It is my belief that you, the taxpayer, deserve superior customer service when you interact with the office for property and motor vehicle tax needs. The office requires someone who is very experienced in accounting and auditing functions such as cash management and internal controls.
As a CPA with experience in the private sector, public accounting and local government, I believe that I am the most qualified candidate for Hall County Tax Commissioner. Therefore, I would like the opportunity to serve our community and put my experience to work for my fellow taxpayers. I have credentials, ideas, energy and integrity to take the Tax Commissioner's office to the next level. I am excited about the opportunity to return to public service and be the best tax commissioner you have ever had. It would be an honor to have your support.
This is my first time to run for an elected position. However, I have worked for Hall County Government as the finance director, and I also audited Hall County’s tax commissioner office as well as many others in Georgia. In these roles, I developed a keen interest in making certain that YOUR money is properly accounted for. That ten years experience of public and governmental accounting coupled with 12 years experience in the private sector as chief financial officer offers well rounded experience to county tax office operations. I enjoyed serving the constituents and am very excited about the opportunity to return to public service by being elected as Tax Commissioner!
3) What qualifications for the office do you bring to the campaign?
I feel uniquely qualified for the Tax Commissioner’s role because having served as your Hall County finance director and independent auditor of the Hall Co. Tax Commissioner’s Office. I have direct hands on experience with financial reporting and recommended practices with respect to cash management. I have always worked for entities with large amounts of cash to manage as well as budgets, and various financial data that has be to reliable and prepared with integrity. Due to my auditing background, I am trained to design and implement checks, balances, internal controls and procedures for the financial soundness of an entity.
4) What do you see as the biggest concern/issue facing the office?
We have to make the tax commissioner’s office more taxpayer friendly with quick service. One goal is to handle any questions and/or problems you have online, over the phone or by mail. But, if you do have to come into the office, you deserve faster service and a positive overall visit. Also, the Tax Commissioner’s office has to take better care of your money. Considering this week’s local headlines, cash management and posting of receipts needs to be a top priority. Money has to be accounted for and posted daily so discrepancies or reporting errors are minimized.
5) Are there any specific changes you would like to undertake if you are elected? And, please explain your answer.
A new opportunity allows for excitement with fresh ideas and plans for improvement. To prioritize, below are three of many changes I would weigh heavily early in office:
***Customer service/improve taxpayer service
-Cross training of employees. Allows for more flexibility in managing workforce; allows for employees to learn new skills making them more valuable to allow better customer service
-Extend office hours and consider Saturday service
-Enhance website to make it easier to interact with office; add FAQ & chat session
-Tax bill that you can understand supplemented by available credits and exemptions
-Satellite offices- I would of course, consider re-opening satellite offices.
When they were closed, they saved the county (YOU, the taxpayer), approximately $330,000. We have to look at the cost value/relationship to you, the taxpayer.
-Open door policy
***Cash management/internal controls
-Payments to office go directly to bank for deposit (lockbox)
-Payments received are posted to taxpayer’s accounts daily
-Internal controls/audit of operations and procedures to ensure reliable financial reporting; effective and efficient operations, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Safeguarding of assets against unauthorized use or misappropriation, acquisition or disposal
***Collection of delinquent taxes
The financial stability of the county and school system depends on the efficient operations of the tax commissioner’s office. Once elected, I will put in place an effective tax collection program to collect these unpaid monies.
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