Interview by Nancy Millan, Chairwoman of the Public Information Coalition
Q. How long have you been the Tax Collector for Okaloosa?
A. I was appointed in 2011 by Governor Scott to fulfill the vacated term of my predecessor; since that time, I have been re-elected twice.
Q. What did you do prior to that?
A. For the previous 38 years, I was a Real Estate Broker and a State Certified General Real Estate Appraiser.
Q. How has your previous business experience influenced you in your Tax Collector role?
A. As a Broker, I depended on Customer Service for referrals and repeat customers. When I learned that the focus of the Tax Collector Office was Customer Service, I felt more prepared. As an Appraiser I was accustomed to dealing with numbers and spreadsheets; this was extraordinarily helpful with understanding the financial operations of the Office. I believe that numbers tell the story. As a Broker, it was important to market and promote my business and now that my business is the Tax Collector Office the same holds true.
Q. Tonight, you will move into the position of President for the Florida Tax Collectors What has best prepared you for this next step?
A. First, the incredible staff in my Office has taught me our many functions and operations along with the implementation of services. Second, I have received mentorship and guidance from both my fellow Tax Collectors and the Executive Director, Tim Qualls. Finally, through networking opportunities, the staff members of other Tax Collector’s Offices serving on Coalitions/Committees further helped me prepare for this leadership role. There is such a good narrative to promote and market to our customers.
Q. Since becoming Tax Collector, you’ve been developing or promoting new ideas, such as What are your visions and goals for the Association and the individual Tax Collector Offices in 2019?
A. The first order of business is Amendment 10, which protects the right of the Citizens to vote and select their Constitutional Officers. Kids Tag Art is an important program in many Offices, I am hopeful we will add 10 more tax col- lector offices to this program. Legislative issues are always significant and we have a good platform. We hope to change the renewal dates to birth month for trucks weighing less than 8,000 pounds; this will spread 700,000 December truck renewals over 12 months. Education is always a priority for me. Honorable DeeDee and I have discussed the expansion of the Education Committee and the creation of an Education Coalition; she has some great ideas. We have begun laying the groundwork to implement “#TAX” for each County, resulting in a direct mobile phone dial to each Office.
Q. Do you have any closing thoughts?
A. It’s going to be a wonderful year! I look forward to having many members involved to achieve great successes for the FTCA and Tax Collector offices around the State. I am humbled and excited to Roar into the 20s!