By Pauline Hovey, Field Officer
On a frigid day riddled with snowflakes, nearly one-quarter of Greene County residents turned out to vote in a special election held in the aftermath of former treasurer Gail Berry’s resignation last September.
With more than 60 percent of the vote, Stephanie Allen Deal, a native of Greene County and a Certified Public Accountant with 20 years of accounting experience, easily won over six other contenders. Many citizens seemed surprised by the overwhelming majority of votes she received in a field that included many prominent Greene County family names.
“I was surprised at the lopsided nature of the results,” said Supervisor Carl Schmitt (at-large). “I expected a greater distribution of votes.” But no matter the imbalanced results, Schmitt and his fellow board members are pleased to have this critical position filled. “It certainly helps the board to know we have a new treasurer and will be able to put the energy and attention to that office,” he said.
With allegations that the previous treasurer had not been reconciling accounts on a monthly basis, Deal can expect the Board of Supervisors to monitor her office for accountability right from the start. Supervisors already have hinted at previous meetings they would require certain financial statements once the position was filled and are anxious to reconcile accounts. “There has been a bit of uncertainty because of the unreconciled reports,” Schmitt said. “This position is critical to our county. Without the ability to collect revenue, pay bills, and keep track of finances, any business will get into deep trouble. We need this job to be done ethically, reliably, and well, so it’s really important who we have in that position.”
In terms of experience, Ms. Deal currently holds the position of assistant controller at the Darden School Foundation and has a B.S. degree from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. She will serve as treasurer until November of this year, when Greene County residents will again elect a Treasurer, this time to serve a full four-year term. At that time, residents will also be electing the Commonwealth Attorney, the Commissioner of Revenue, the Sheriff, three School Board members, and three Board of Supervisors members whose terms will be expiring.
“All in all, I was very proud of the county, the way it conducted itself in this election, and the way our candidates conducted themselves,” Supervisor Schmitt added. “The candidates’ forum couldn’t have been better in terms of its structure and the way our residents handled themselves in terms of the questions asked. It was an example of a good form of democracy at work.”
According to Virginia’s State Compensation Board:
Virginia’s city and county Treasurers are the chief financial officers for their localities, collecting taxes and local fees, and making payments on behalf of the local government. The Treasurer is responsible for every form of revenue which comes to his or her locality including:
- Real estate taxes
- Personal property taxes
- License taxes
- Water and sewage charges
- Permit fees
- State income tax
- Court, Sheriff and Clerk fees
Treasurers also manage the investment of local funds and maintain records of local finances.
The elected post of Treasurer was created in the Virginia Constitution of 1870. The Treasurer’s independent status as an elected official ensures that local funds will be collected, invested and spent by an officer who reports directly to the people.