The county treasurer portion of Tuesday’s Concerned Citizens of Grayson County debate was heavily biographical, as candidates Gayla Hawkins and Starr Stanley each opted to focus on their personal backgrounds. Hawkins, who currently works in the county Treasurer’s Office as a deputy, led-off the proceedings by informing the large crowd at the Grayson County Courthouse of her previous government experience.

The county treasurer portion of Tuesday’s Concerned Citizens of Grayson County debate was heavily biographical, as candidates Gayla Hawkins and Starr Stanley each opted to focus on their personal backgrounds. Hawkins, who currently works in the county Treasurer’s Office as a deputy, led-off the proceedings by informing the large crowd at the Grayson County Courthouse of her previous government experience.


"I was a 42-year resident of San Saba County … where I was the county treasurer for 18 years," said Hawkins. "In San Saba County … we saved quite a bit of money and became debt-free, and I felt like that was a huge accomplishment."


Given her turn at the podium, Stanley trained the audience’s focus on her back-story as well, reinforcing her private sector credentials. Stanley ran the books for a local car dealership before transitioning to a construction company, where she eventually worked as office manager.


"I worked … doing payroll, accounts payable, most of the things that the county treasurer now does, I have worked over the last 15 years working on," said Stanley. "The last seven years, I’ve been working in the tax office. And … there are a lot of statutes that regulate what we do, so I take great pride in learning what those statutes are and making sure they are followed."


Addressing the moderator’s question regarding whether the candidates consider the treasurer’s position to be a full-time job, both women agreed that it was.


"The treasurer’s office is a full-time position," said Stanley. "Yes, we are the chief custodian of the county’s funds, but it is a stewardship of those funds. We are stewards of the county taxpayers, and we need to take that job very seriously."


Hawkins, too, said the constitutional responsibilities of the position require the office holder’s full attention. She refuted those who believe the county Treasurer’s Office should be abolished, a measure that ten Texas counties have enacted.


"There’s much misconception about the duties of treasurer, and that it’s just an easy job to take care of. It is not," said Hawkins. "The office was created with the Constitution, just like the other offices of county government, and we also remain a part of the constituents’ voice."


In the candidates’ closing remarks, each made an appeal to the assembly.


"I do have the experience, having 18 years as a former county treasurer," said Hawkins. "I have 10 years as a certified investment officer, so I’m familiar with those duties as well. And again, as the treasurer of a smaller county, I am aware of all the duties of not only the treasurer but as an auditor that oversees the funds, and I can work closely with the Auditor’s Office. I have the knowledge of governmental fund accounting that would help continue the proper process of the office of county treasurer."


Stanley used the end of her five minutes at the microphone to highlight her family’s work to improve Howe. She concluded with a summary of what she she sees as the treasurer’s role local government.


"We work with the county judge and county commissioners to make sure that the budgets are followed, and that all those monies that are paid to better service citizens are available," said Stanley. "Transparency of government is … a very vital part of our organization that we need to continue with."