Tuesday, December 29, 2009

12/29/09 Letter

December 29, 2009

Honorable Michael J. Carr
Genesee County Clerk
900 S. Saginaw Street
Flint, MI 48502

Dear Clerk Carr,

Thank you for your letter (dated 12/21/09) outlining the next steps for the appointment process regarding the County Treasurer position. I am requesting consideration for this appointment, a public transaction that will convey full authority to a new treasurer. In an era of government transparency, it is especially important that candidates express their ideas publicly on how to oversee this vital county office. We all agree this process should not be a popularity contest but the selection presents a great opportunity to compare candidates’ competencies for the position.

I served as County Treasurer Dan Kildee's Assistant Treasurer for seven years (1997 to 2004).
Looking back to those years I realize how we transformed the services of this multi-pronged county department. In 1999, the Legislature changed the state’s existing tax foreclosure law, by enacting Public Act 123 of 1999. This law is the foundation of the relationship between the Treasurer’s Office and the Genesee County Land Bank. Part of our success stemmed from our ability to create public-private partnerships in implementing the reformed tax foreclosure system, including foundation support.

Additionally, I have been a public administration professional for nearly three decades, and an elected state representative for five years. Some recent participation with public-private partnerships includes Flint’s Swedish Biogas Project and the Chevy Volt tax credits (I sponsored the legislation) for advanced battery technology. These efforts bring jobs to our community. So based on my work experience, verve and specialized training, I have amassed a portfolio of ideas that could benefit the Treasurer’s Office.

It is worth mentioning your idea to fill the position on an interim basis is a plausible option. The law anticipates that when a County Treasurer position becomes vacant, the Chief Deputy Treasurer assumes the Treasurer's duties. My understanding based on communication with Treasurer Dan Kildee is the prescribed procedures (changes to accounts, checks, etc.), have been fully implemented. On January 1, 2010, the Chief Deputy Treasurer will be in charge of the office—and could fill the vacancy until a new Treasurer is elected. Salary and benefits savings would help the county’s current budget conditions.

I would welcome the opportunity for a public interview to discuss my ideas on how to advance the work of this very important county office. Your consideration is appreciated.


Lee Gonzales

cc: Honorable David Leyton, Genesee County Prosecuting Attorney
cc: Honorable Jennie E. Barkey, Chief Probate Judge, Genesee County Probate Court

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