Liberty Lake’s Rob Chase – who currently holds the title of Spokane County treasurer – knows a little something about campaign adversity. After all, Chase is the guy who defeated a three-termer to the post, Skip Chilberg, in 2010.
Flash-forward four years, and Chase, a Republican, is facing a pair of challengers who boast accounting degrees who feel they can do the job better. Both Amy Biviano (a Democrat) and Mary Kuney (a Republican) argue that they have experience
Voters will have a chance to whittle the race down to the two top vote-getters on Aug. 5.
How long have you lived in Spokane County? My husband and I have lived in Spokane County for 13 years now. I married my college sweetheart, and he grew up here in the Valley. This is where we chose to raise our boys.
Why did you decide to file for this office at this time? I feel that Spokane has the opportunity to do better than our current treasurer, and this office fits my skills and abilities and financial background well. I can make a difference in this office and help Spokane prosper.
Why should voters choose you over your opponents? I have the right blend of a strong financial education and working management experience, being a Certified Public Accountant with an undergraduate degree from Yale and an MBA from Gonzaga. I've spent my past eight years doing a blend of small business and nonprofit accounting and serve on many community boards including the finance committees for the YWCA, the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Inland Northwest Business Alliance.
What issues regarding the treasurer’s office do you feel are most pertinent to area residents? The most important, tangible benefit to our Valley and Liberty Lake areas would be the ability of the treasurer's office to make community-based infrastructure loans to municipalities, putting our people to work, keeping our money safer and local, and improving our infrastructure for our local businesses and residents. The Sullivan Road bridge is a great example where the treasurer has the ability to make a loan to the city of Spokane Valley to get this project done before weight restrictions start costing the businesses in the industrial park extra money in rerouting around a major arterial road, while creating construction local construction jobs on the repairs, and generating interest income to our county that would otherwise be sent to a bank.
Additionally, the county will soon be implementing a partial payments system and internal control policies and procedures for accepting credit card and online payments -- processes that happen behind the scenes, but impact the efficiency and effectiveness of county government. We need a finance professional to implement these changes and ensure that they are done correctly the first time.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? I am having the most fun door belling for this campaign than any other I've run or worked on. Our voters are truly engaged and interested in talking about having a finance professional in office. People understand that our incumbent's attempts to move our tax payer money into gold and silver are inappropriate and unsafe. And, when I've spoken about keeping our money local, people understand and really support infrastructure funding and pulling together for our community.
How long have you lived in Spokane County? Since 1974.
Why did you decide to file for this office at this time? I am the incumbent. We achieved a great many things in my first term. A partial payment bill of any amount at any time on late taxes for the first time in state history. We are the only county opting to do so. Tax-rush waiting reduced by 80 percent. We are the first county to implement MoneyGram payments from remote locations. We recently received a customer rating of 95 percent in a survey of 322 visitors. We rewrote the Debt Policy and Investment Policy for the first time since 1995 in compliance with Washington Municipal Treasurer's Association standards. Our Investment Pool received the second-highest yield in the state while maintaining ample liquidity to meet all needs.
I am seeking a second and final term to continue efforts at tax reform through legislation eliminating excessive late penalties and a personal property tax exemption that will stimulate small business.
Why should voters choose you over your opponents? I have real experience with proven results. My operation management degree and being certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM from American Production and Inventory Control Society -- APICs) has been more conducive to finding efficiencies and anticipating future needs than the CPA designations my challengers hold. Besides, I already have two CPA's on staff. I have been in the office every day and returned all calls within 24 hours. I met with anyone who wanted to meet with me, and if I didn't have an answer I found someone who did.
What issues regarding the treasurer’s office do you feel are most pertinent to area residents? Integrity and leadership with an ability to listen to residents and staff and to act upon good ideas.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? My most common issues are transparency, tax reform, and the need for real public service.
How long have you lived in Spokane County? 34 years
Why did you decide to file for this office at this time? I am running because it is time for a county treasurer with the qualifications and experience necessary to ensure our tax dollars are well managed and protected. This position deserves a financial professional who is qualified to ensure compliance with state laws, protect your tax dollars, and ensure that the citizens will get the maximum value from their hard earned funds. I am passionate about bringing trust, experience and a strong work ethic to this important position.
Why should voters choose you over your opponents? As an experienced CPA for over 20 years, small business owner, former Washington state auditor and treasurer for a large nonprofit endowment fund, I am the only candidate with the qualifications and experience to give Spokane County citizens the service they deserve. My t10 years as a Washington state auditor being a guardian of tax payer funds, including two years auditor-in-charge of the Spokane County audit, gives me extensive experience and knowledge for this position. I have been endorsed by former county Commissioner Kate McCaslin, all three current Spokane County commissioners, other elected officials, business and labor groups and numerous concerned citizens. See my Web site marykuney.com for a list of endorsements.
What issues regarding the treasurer’s office do you feel are most pertinent to area residents? The treasurer must ensure that the investment pool provides the highest rate of return possible, while complying with the requirements of legality, safety, and liquidity in that order. The investment pool cannot lose the taxpayer funds that the treasurer has been entrusted with. As a CPA and former Washington state auditor, I have a proven history as a guardian of public funds and compliance with State laws which provides the taxpayers the confidence that their tax dollars are being invested wisely.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? When I describe the role and function of the treasurer to citizens, they are surprised to hear there are no financial qualifications required to manage almost $1 billion of taxpayer dollars. Citizens are excited to hear that I am a CPA and former Washington state auditor and will bring financial qualifications and governmental experience to this important position.