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Meet the Candidates for Wayne County Trustee

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Three candidates have qualified to run for the position of Wayne County Trustee in the upcoming August 4th election. All three are political newcomers, with two, Sheila Rich and Christi Moore, having worked as Deputy Trustees in the Wayne County Trustee’s office, and the remaining candidate, Shawna Rich, serving as Financial Officer at the Wayne County Board of Education.

This week begins our “Meet the Candidates” series in which we ask the same three questions of each candidate and publish their corresponding responses.

SHEILA RICH

1)  You have announced your candidacy to run for election to the office of Wayne County Trustee. Please tell us more about the factors that prompted you to run for this public office.

When I began working in the Trustee’s office, I really enjoyed doing the job and meeting the people that live in Wayne County. When Ms. Janice decided to retire at the end of her term after being elected in 2018, I knew that I wanted to run for the office of Trustee. At that time, I asked Ms. Janice to allow me to learn all the responsibilities of the Trustee. She was very helpful teaching me and allowing me to learn the daily tasks of the office. I am very thankful for the help and feel that working with her for the past five years makes me qualified for the job to continue to serve the great people of Wayne County.

2)  What plans do you have for changes or improvements, if any, to be made in the Trustee’s office if you are elected?

As for improvements to the office, there are some things that could be changed. One thing would be to make it more convenient for people to pay taxes during the tax season. However, the Trustee’s office operates on a very limited budget. I would hope to make improvements in the office as the budget allows. I don’t want to make promises on improvements to the office if the money is not there to do them. I will promise to continue to serve you with honest, friendly, and courteous service if you, Wayne County, will allow me.

3)  Please feel free to tell us more about your family, your personal beliefs, and what you feel are your best qualifications for public office.

I am married to Darwin Rich. We will celebrate our 37th anniversary in September. We have two children, Ragan Evans and Tyler Rich. We also have five grandchildren, Brayson, Brinklee, Steeler, Elliot, and Mazie. We attend and are members of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church. I have five years of experience working with Ms. Janice, who has been working in the Trustee’s office for thirty-six years. I feel that this experience qualifies me for the position of Trustee. I have always tried to serve the citizens of Wayne County with friendly and dependable service and would be honored to continue to serve you as Trustee. Thank You and may God Bless Wayne County and its citizens.

SHAWNA RICH

1)  You have announced your candidacy to run for election to the office of Wayne County Trustee. Please tell us more about the factors that prompted you to run for this public office.

There were several factors that prompted me to run for Trustee. Since 2013, I have served as a custodian of public funds, working in the finance office at the Board of Education. I oversee the bookkeeping of three funds and over 22 million of local, state and federal funding. While employed at the Board of Education, I was approached with an opportunity to enroll in a program designed to improve Tennessee county financial operations. The “Certified County Finance Officer” program was created for county elected finance officials such as the county Trustee, and the program invitation was extended to local education directors and finance directors. In 2019, I became part of the first graduating class of the CCFO program, and the first of only three in Wayne County to date. While enrolled, I met numerous people in county roles. I also learned a great deal about county government and the fiscal responsibilities of county finance officials. The CCFO program sparked an interest in me, and I thought I would like to be part of county government one day. Shortly after graduation, Mrs. Janice Smith mentioned she was considering retiring, and I had debated internally ever since. After long consideration, I realized that there was no better time than now, to run for the Office of Trustee.

2)  What plans do you have for changes or improvements, if any, to be made in the Trustee’s office if you are elected?

If I am elected, I have plans that I hope would make the Trustee’s office more accessible to the public as well as more efficient. By meeting with other Trustees, I’ve found that surrounding counties offer services that Wayne County currently doesn’t offer. For example, I would like to implement existing remote technology to accept payments in the communities during peak times. While the current online payment system works for some, it passes an additional charge to the consumer to use this service. I have spoken with local bankers about using an auto check deposit system that has zero service charges for the consumer or the county. I want to offer a monthly payment option where an automatic electronic draft is optional, and there is also no additional cost to the consumer or the county.  I have spoken with representatives from the local banks about collaborating to also make payments at the local branches. By offering multiple payment options, it is my desire to improve delinquent tax collections.

I have discovered that many people are not aware of the tax relief programs made available by the state of Tennessee for low income elderly, disabled homeowners and disabled veterans’. I would like to update the county web page with a section devoted to the Trustee’s office.  There we would post information on existing programs, applications for those programs, and any new updates from the Tennessee legislature regarding property tax or other beneficial information. There would be no additional cost to the county for this improvement made to the current website.

In order to keep my CCFO credentials, the TN Comptroller of Treasury requires that I continue my professional education. I am required to complete, at a minimum of, 16 CPE hours annually. These classes have to be relevant and approved by the TN Comptroller.  By maintaining this certification, I can commit to staying educated and informed to offer you the most up-to-date products and services available for the citizens of Wayne County.

3)  Please feel free to tell us more about your family, your personal beliefs, and what you feel are your best qualifications for public office.

More often than not, I’ve been asked, “Who’s your folks,” so I’ll start there. My mother is Brenda Hanvey Williamson and my father was the late Ronnie Holt. My husband Channing and I both grew up in Wayne County. We graduated from Collinwood High School and currently reside south of Collinwood with our three children. We are members of Christian Faith Church where I have served as the Treasurer for the last four years as well as the VBS director for many more. I received my Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of North Alabama. After college, I’ve worked in tax accounting, corporate accounting, auditing and currently “not for profit” accounting.

Although, there’s more to learn, my professional background has provided me a good foundation to represent Wayne County as Trustee. At the Wayne County Board of Education, my responsibilities cover all aspects of accounting. I finished my career with TNT Fireworks as an accounts receivable specialist, and from 2018-2020, I was contracted with the Tennessee Department of Education as a fiscal manger who audited grant reimbursements across the state. Please allow me to explain how my previous employment experiences, as well as my current position are similar to the Trustee’s role.

The Trustee is essentially the county treasurer. The revenues flow through the Trustee’s office and are then pro-rated and allocated to the appropriate funds. I am currently responsible for tracking grants, awards and reimbursements of over 22 million of revenues and allocating those to the correct funds as well as departments within those funds. In addition, I am also responsible for reconciling the cash accounts for those funds and balance with the Trustee. If there are discrepancies, I work diligently with the Trustee in getting those corrected monthly.

The Trustee is widely known for the collection of property taxes, which are accounts receivable. When I worked as an accounts receivable specialist, I was tasked with reconciling TNT’s largest multi-million dollar chain store account, in the US and Puerto Rico, known as Wal-Mart as well as ASDA in the UK. I collected 99% of their balance every season, New Year’s, Fourth of July, Chinese New Year, and Guy Fawkes Day/Night. I will work hard to collect all receivables owed to Wayne County.

The Trustee is responsible for reporting delinquent taxes and working with the delinquent tax attorney as well as the Clerk and Master’s office. In 2012, I was part of a team at TNT to settle old debt with ASDA chain stores in the UK. I worked alongside account managers and settlement attorneys to complete this assignment. I have experience collaborating with professionals in other fields and will use my experience to likewise work with local officials.

At the Board of Education another responsibility of mine is payroll and reconciling all liability accounts. Monthly I am tasked with reconciling all employees’ insurances, retirement, voluntary deductions, garnishments, unemployment benefits, and state (Alabama) and federal taxes.  I am responsible for issuing reports for internal and external users. Like the Trustee, I understand the importance of issuing timely reports, such as cash reports, for other county departments to review and use in their operations after the reconciling is complete.

My opponents offer their own unique skills and experiences and I would like to humbly ask that you also consider mine when you place your vote. I will consider it one of my greatest honors to represent you as your Trustee. Thank you for the kindness already shown to me, as well as your consideration and support!

CHRISTI MOORE

1)  You have announced your candidacy to run for election to the office of Wayne County Trustee. Please tell us more about the factors that prompted you to run for this public office.

“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Theodore Roosevelt

I have had the privilege to work the last four years as Deputy Trustee. I have the desire, knowledge, and experience to serve Wayne County as your next Wayne County Trustee. I am committed to work hard and use my thirty-two years of experience to successfully execute the responsibilities of the Wayne County Trustee. I have enjoyed working for the Wayne County Election Commission at the Southgate precinct for over ten years. I am dedicated, honest, and compassionate about serving the citizens of Wayne County in this capacity.

2)  What plans do you have for changes or improvements, if any, to be made in the Trustee’s office if you are elected?

If elected, I will continue to serve you in an efficient and courteous manner. Our office has had zero findings by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury Division of State Auditors during my employment. I will be open to any new technology or improvements to our office that budgets will allow. I will strive daily and continually research to improve and provide the best possible experience to the tax payers of Wayne County. I will advertise and continue to get as many qualified applicants on the State Tax Relief program. I would like to research implementing and using QR scan codes that are already printed on our tax bills. I will continue to assist other county officials and their offices daily in a professional manner.

3)  Please feel free to tell us more about your family, your personal beliefs, and what you feel are your best qualifications for public office.

I have lived in Wayne County all of my adult life. My son Kelsey and I reside and attend church in south Wayne County. Kelsey is an eighth generation Wayne Countian and a 2022 graduate of Collinwood High School. My background is in office administration, accounting, and bookkeeping. I have been employed by Raytheon Engineering & Bechtel Engineering, performing administrative tasks in Contracts Management & Plant Management. I have also been employed as office manager for Holt Retail and secretary at Bank of Collinwood. I am a graduate of Tennessee College of Applied Technology. I served on the Collinwood Dixie Youth Board of Directors for ten years. I possess high leadership traits and detailed organizational skills. I would be honored to have the opportunity to serve as the next Wayne County Trustee. I promise to operate the office with the utmost integrity. I humbly ask for your consideration, vote, and support on August 4th. Thank you and God Bless.

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