Tax & Accounting Blog

Thomson Reuters Presents 2014 Public Sector Champion Awards

Aumentum, Blog September 24, 2014

The Public Sector Champion Awards recognize individuals and jurisdictions that have achieved excellence in planning, leadership, and service.

This year’s winners are:

Excellence in Business Process Transformation Award

Matt Archer, Deputy Director — Yankton County, South Dakota

Photo of Matt Archer being presented an award
Matt Archer

Matt Archer, Deputy Director of the Yankton County, South Dakota Department of Equalization is committed to efficiency. His hands-on approach to implementing his office’s new technology has saved his office thousands of dollars. He took it upon himself to help train users in the ProVal technology and facilitate the conversion. Many South Dakota governmental offices lack IT specialists, so Matt has gone above and beyond in this way to provide those services and troubleshoot where he can. If there was a job that needed filling, he was there. It made a difference: Yankton County went from a high of 252 appeals in 2008 to 58 in 2014.

Jim McLean, Tax Assessor in Orangeburg County, SC

Jim McLean, is considered a CAMA authority in Orangeburg County, South Carolina, where he serves as Tax Assessor. He is one of Aumentum’s longest clients and provides counsel to other counties in the state. That’s why one of the running gags around South Carolina county offices is, “Did you ask Jim?” During legislative change in South Carolina, Jim was a huge help to his own agency, other counties, and even those who mandated the new requirements. His insight is deeply valued by his peers and employees, and he continuously goes above and beyond.

Elizabeth Stair: CEO, National Land Agency, Jamaica

Photo of Elizabeth Stair being presented an award
Elizabeth Stair

In the Caribbean, and Jamaica especially, pen and paper still has a stubborn mark on the status quo. That didn’t stop Elizabeth Stair, the CEO of the National Land Agency from deciding to go digital. Partnered with Aumentum Registry, Ms. Stair and her team has fully automated the land management processes. But Ms. Stair took it a step further: by implementing a digital signature via smart card to legitimize land title certificates. This digital authorization sped up a land registration process that took weeks, to where it now only takes two days. This efficiency has improved the office culture, and the agency won the Prime Minister’s Trophy for best customer service entity. Most importantly, this has won the respect of the National Land Agency’s customers, who refer to the change as “amazing” and “remarkable.”

Excellence in Office Leadership Award

Photo of Marianne Matz being presented an award
Marianne Matz

Mariann Matz, Project Manager, Lead, Management Analyst for Clark County, Nevada

Mariann Matz of Clark County, NV, is a dependable and reliable force in the office. Paired with customCAMA and Aumentum, she delivers results — results much needed in her office.

Clark County had been hard hit by the real estate crash. The team needed to be able to keep up even though their staff was pared down — from 185 to 135 employees. She was instrumental in making this conversion happen. Throughout the solution’s implementation, she was the go-to girl for updates, answers, and positivity. In the end Aumentum and the new CAMA system facilitated the valuation of 730,000 parcels and 70,000 personal property accounts to be completed on time even with staff reductions. Today they boast top-notch efficiency.

Photo of Brian Loughrey being presented an award
Brian Loughrey

Brian Loughrey — Administrative Director at Property Appraiser’s Office in Sarasota County, Florida

Creativity, innovation, character, and commitment to excellence are the qualities Brian Loughrey, Administrative Director in the Property Appraiser’s office in Sarasota County, FL, looks for in in others and holds himself accountable to. These traits have helped the Sarasota Property Appraiser’s Office flourish. The tax roll team went from six members to two, there was a ten-percent reduction in value challenge petitions, and across the organization he has developed a culture that embraces the business transformation: streamlined communication among agencies and the public, consolidated data, and overall process efficiency.

Excellence in Constituent Service Award

Debbie Stevens, Chief Deputy Treasurer in Warrick, Indiana

Photo of Debbie Stevens being presented an award
Debbie Stevens

Oftentimes government is about doing more with fewer resources. This was particularly true for our first winner in the Excellence in Constituent Service category, Debbie Stevens, the Chief Deputy Treasurer in Warrick, IN. County cutbacks had chopped a quarter of her staff, and the remainder were new with less than a year of experience. On top of all of that, spring tax season was upon them.

Debbie reacted quickly…and quickly realized she couldn’t stick with tradition. It began with change in their digital remittance system and convincing a skeptical staff — and the rest was history. All payments were entered in MVPTax smoothly and seamlessly. All thanks to Debbie Stevens and her innovative ideas for handling the workload and being mindful of the time and patience of taxpayers. She was able to see the big picture to find the right solution to solve seemingly unmanageable problems.

Anne Gannon, Tax Collector in Palm Beach County, Florida

Photo of Anne Gannon being presented an award
Anne Gannon

97% of the organization’s surveys rated Palm Beach’s Tax Collection organization service levels as good or better. 85% rate them as excellent. This is the handiwork of Anne Gannon, Tax Collector in Palm Beach, FL, whose mantras are “the ungovernment experience” and “serving you.” She demonstrates service to people to everyone she encounters at work. Employees are recognized for their contributions. Her community outreach programs go above and beyond, educating constituents on topics such as first-time driver education.

Michael Schultz, Assessor in LaPorte County, Indiana

Photo of Michael Shultz being presented an award
Michael Shultz

Mike Schultz, Assessor in LaPorte County, IN, inherited a unique situation. After a taxpayer filed a lawsuit, the state put assessments on hold in 2007. The backlog of transfers, splits, and appeals seemed unreal. As daunting as it was, Michael Schultz knew they had to remedy this situation immediately. With the help of ProVal he was able to log and track appeals. He demonstrated what it is to go above and beyond by making himself available to his constituents — even after agency hours. Laporte County has since dropped the number of property assessment appeals by 80%.

Office Holder of the Year Award

Assessor Gene Kuehn, Canyon County, Idaho

Photo of Gene Kuehn being presented an award
Gene Kuehn

Optimistic. Diehard Boise State fan. Inclusive. Avid golfer, hunter, and rugby player. Unselfish. Hands-on Leader. Those are just a few of the words that come to min. regarding our Office Holder of the Year Award Winner, Canyon County, ID Assessor Gene Kuehn. He has successfully transformed his office through a variety of means:

  • He hosts “meetings of the mind” to include and engage his team in problem solving.
  • He nurtures an open culture where his coworkers feel free to ask questions and make suggestions.
  • Perhaps the most notable is his instrumental role in the successful conversion of Aumentum 8.4 into Aumentum 8.06 for not only his own county, but most Idaho jurisdictions as well.

During this process he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. After personally performing much of the testing for this conversion, he ensured that the solution was tailored to county’s needs and maintained progress reports for other counties on top of that. Previously hand-calculated figures for annexations, exemptions, and supplemental values became automated, accurate, and efficient, thanks to Gene’s hard work to implement the Aumentum solution.

Jurisdiction of the Year Award

Jurisdiction of the Year — City of Cape Town, South Africa

It’s one of the most diverse cities in the country, the second most populous, and the largest in area. Even with those challenges, the jurisdiction of Cape Town, South Africa manages to operate consistently and transparently with a self-sufficient workflow thanks in part to its Thomson Reuters CAMA solution. Cape Town also proves to be a pioneer in innovation Objection resolution, which used to take a minimum of five months, but now constituents can have their objections resolved that very day. In nine years, the City added 50% more properties to the tax roll, and over the past twelve years, Cape Town’s innovations and investments have delivered improved, interactive, and responsive service delivery to the city’s taxpayers. Because of all this, the city of Cape Town, South Africa is being named the Public Sector Champion Awards Jurisdiction of the Year.

Congratulations to all 2014 Public Sector Champion Award Winners!