Cascade County treasurer candidate questionnaires: Diane Heikkila

Name: Diane C. Heikkila

Age: 53

Occupation: Deputy Treasurer

Political affiliation: Republican

Q: Why are you running for county treasurer?

A: While working in the treasurer’s office for the last 2.5 years, I have received many complaints on how this office is run. Some complaints are:

  • lack of consistency with rules and guidelines on how to complete title paperwork;
  • lack of clerk at the handicapped window during all open hours;
  • lack of separate lines for motor vehicle renewals and property taxes (single transactions);
  • lack of motor vehicle phone lines being answered;
  • lack of employees at the counter during breaks and lunch hours;
  • lack of pertinent information visible to the customers while waiting in line.

I intend to fix these issues to the best of my ability. I do not believe it should be so difficult to register a vehicle in Cascade County.

Q: What do you believe is the role of the county treasurer?

A: Besides balancing the budget, I believe the county treasurer should be able to not only lead and guide the employees with proper direction to their given duties, but to also be able to step in and handle those duties if need be. I believe the county treasurer needs to be available to both the customer and the employee at all times.

Q: If elected, what would be your initial priorities for the treasurer’s office and how would you accomplish those priorities?

A: The first thing I would do is sit down with each of the employees and ask them for their input on how we can better serve both the public and the employees to make it easier for both to handle their business at hand. I would then evaluate and prioritize their ideas and not excuse any ideas without thoroughly looking into their suggestions. I would also want to implement an accessible suggestion box for the customer whether it is for suggestions, praises or complaints.

Q: How would you ensure the office is efficient in managing taxpayer’s money?

A: First I would need to manage time and duties with the amount of employees on hand. Break and lunch times would need to be adjusted so half the employees do not leave the counter at once. The motor vehicle supervisor and the treasurer need to fill in more readily when needed. This also goes for the motor vehicle phone lines. It is near impossible for two clerks to keep up with the phone lines and all their other duties and continuous interruptions. Time management is a necessity.

Q: In your view, does the office have adequate resources to meet the needs of the county?

A: I believe they do. Once again, I believe it is all about time management and being aware of what is happening in the moment.

Q: What improvements would you make, if any?

Every four years there are promises by candidates to add separate lines for motor vehicle renewals, property taxes and all other transactions. I intend to keep this promise. I also would implement a written reference guideline for all employee work stations so they can refer to it for the most generalized questions. We need consistency on rules. Motor vehicle phone lines will be answered. I will stay involved with each employee and always have an open door policy.

Q: Any additional comments (but please keep it concise)?

A: This office needs to be run with efficiency, honesty, and integrity to both the employee and the customer. It does not have to be so difficult to register a vehicle in Cascade County.