Staff Editorial

Kept promises earn Sharon Gonzalez another term

Linn County's Jean Oxley Public Service Center, 935 2nd St. SW, in Cedar Rapids on Oct. 3, 2018. (Lynda Waddington/The Gazette)
Linn County's Jean Oxley Public Service Center, 935 2nd St. SW, in Cedar Rapids on Oct. 3, 2018. (Lynda Waddington/The Gazette)
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Democratic incumbent Sharon Gonzalez faces Republican challenger Denise Sotelo Westerhoff in the race for Linn County Treasurer. We find no compelling reason for county residents to change course.

Both women have extensive experience in the treasurer’s office.

Sotelo Westerhoff most recently worked in the Benton County Treasurer’s Office, after having spent 25 years in Linn County as a senior accountant and senior title clerk before retiring in 2015.

Gonzalez has been with the Linn County office since 1979, serving as treasurer since 2010.

Both women care deeply and sincerely about customer service, office efficiency and employee morale. We believe either candidate would be a good steward of public trust.

The notable difference in the race is that Gonzalez has delivered on past promises to improve where and how county residents can interact with the high-traffic office.

For example, Gonzalez held off on replacing two vacant deputy positions in order to afford an efficiency study. As a result of that eight-month study, dozens of process improvements were implemented — all intended to reduce wait time for residents.

Employees have been cross-trained to help with a wide variety of transactions. Since some residents do not have access to a home computer, one has been placed in office for residents who prefer to self-serve.

Recommended equipment upgrades were completed using machines and technology already available in other county offices, providing additional collaboration and enhancing overall customer experience.

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With the efficiency report in tow as well as a checklist of completed recommendations, Supervisors agreed more capacity was needed and recently provided resources for three new full-time employees.

But Gonzalez’s accomplishments don’t stop there. She has been active with state and national associations, bringing best practices and influence to the local office. When floodwaters closed the office, Gonzalez acquired a mobile unit from the Iowa Department of Transportation so residents could continue to do business with the county, and helped convince state officials to give local residents a 30-day property tax extension.

Gonzalez has the skills, leadership and experience to be Linn County Treasurer. She has earned our endorsement and deserves your vote.

• Comments: (319) 368-8262; editorial@thegazette.com

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

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