Voices of County Government - Hon. Linda Douglass

County government officials are as diverse as the Texans who elect them, coming from every background imaginable. In this issue we talk with Guadalupe County Treasurer Linda Douglass

By County magazine

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How long have you been the Guadalupe County Treasurer?

I was elected in 2002 and took office Jan. 1, 2003. I became the first minority in Guadalupe County to win a countywide election. I was recently re-elected and am currently serving my fifth term. I am humbled and blessed to have this opportunity to continue to serve the citizens of Guadalupe County. 

Prior to your election, what kind of work did you do? How did you get interested in running for office?

I began my career working in the county Treasurer’s Office in 1981 as the employee benefits coordinator and payroll clerk. When my predecessor decided not to seek re-election, he and several other elected officials asked if I would consider running for county treasurer. I had never thought about running for a public office before, but I enjoy helping people, and my love for public service led me to decide to run for office. 

What was the biggest surprise or adjustment after taking office? 

Having previously worked in the Treasurer’s Office, I would honestly say the biggest adjustment was learning to delegate and managing employees.

What are some of the most difficult challenges you’ve faced, and what advice would you give your peers across the state who may face the same or similar challenges?

As an elected official — and being in office for over 16 years — I believe the future challenges we face will be substantially greater than those of the past. 

Our biggest challenges today are technology and getting the best rate of return on our investments in an ever-changing market place. County treasurers are responsible for disbursement of county funds, which could be by check, automated clearinghouse (ACH) or electronic fund transfers (EFT). Protecting our employees’ and vendors’ information becomes more of a challenge every day. The risk of fraudulent checks, bogus vendors, identity theft and counterfeit money is becoming more prevalent. I would recommend the following advice to my peers:

• Keep a close eye on your investments, 

• Monitor your bank accounts daily, 

• Set up bank fraud filter notifications,

• Verify all vendor information change requests, 

• Implement an Internal Control Policy,

• Create an Investment Advisory Committee, 

• Work closely with your bank and auditor, and

• Reconcile your bank and investment accounts daily or at least monthly. 

Diversification is our primary defense against investment risk. By making fundamentally sound investments and continuing to maximize the rate of return on your investments will improve your financial performance and ensure you meet the requirements of an ever-changing market.

Since taking office, what accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am proud to have been recognized by the state for 15 years as a Certified Investment Officer. I originated the current investment policy for Guadalupe County and received a Certificate of Distinction by the Municipal Treasurers’ Association of the United States. Our county purchased a new financial software system and electronic timekeeping system to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of county services and save taxpayers’ dollars. It was an honor to have been part of the implementation team for these projects.

What do you find are the most successful methods for reaching out to the residents of Guadalupe County to communicate what your office is doing and why?

I have found the best means of communication with the public is through the internet, Facebook, Twitter and news media. If there are any important events or news the public needs to be made aware of, my office will communicate the information through the county’s main website as well as the Treasurer’s website.

When you’re not at work, what are you doing? Do you have any hobbies or something unique that you’re interested in that may surprise your colleagues?

During my leisure time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, children, granddaughter and granddogs. I am a big movie buff — I love a good romance or suspense movie! My favorite movie channels are Lifetime and Hallmark. I enjoy watching sports with my husband (who is a retired professional football official) and playing recreational volleyball. I’ve always had a passion for fashion and shopping. I did some modeling for a local photographer and several boutiques right after graduating high school. I also love interior decorating, art and traveling.

What is your favorite thing about Guadalupe  County?

 My favorite thing about Guadalupe County is the people. Even though the county is growing by leaps and bounds, it is still small enough that everyone knows each other. It’s almost like everyone here is family. When someone in the community is in need, everyone comes together to help out. You won’t find a more loving and caring community. This is why I am humbled and honored to serve the citizens of Guadalupe County.