Presidio County Treasurer candidate questionnaires

Candidates for Presidio County Treasurer weigh in ahead of the March 1 primary election 

Dave Chavez (R)

  1. Tell us about yourself. What experience will you bring to this role? 

Up until the final day to register for the position of county treasurer, I was a content retired city/county manager enjoying the life of a financially secure individual with the freedom to travel and engage in any activity that I chose. Then, out of the blue, just before the deadline to register to be on the ballot, I received a phone call from an individual representing other county citizens asking me if I would be interested in running for county treasurer. 

Following a good deal of soul searching, and contrary to the livid protestations from my wife, I finally decided to run. I decided in the affirmative, both out of a sense of duty and because I believe that my 20 or more years in senior-level public sector positions has provided me with the incisive business acumen and seminal leadership qualities to confidently step into this position with a minimal introduction. I hold a master’s degree in public administration from Governors State University, and a bachelor’s degree in hydrology from Utah State University. I retired from the United States Marine Corps as a 1st lieutenant and executive officer of Second Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Battalion. 

  1. How, in the role of county treasurer, will you optimize systems and work effectively with others?

It is difficult to answer how I would optimize systems, given that I am not familiar with the system currently in place. I am confident that, if elected, I will be reviewing all operational practices of the treasurer’s office to determine if the protocols in place conform to acceptable accounting practices that I have been exposed to through my years as a city manager. My primary thrust will be to evaluate the efficiency and accuracy of the services delivered to both the citizens of the county and the board of commissioners on a daily basis. 

Relative to working effectively with others, I intend to approach this position with an enthusiastic management style that welcomes critical input, encourages teamwork, resulting in operational excellence and efficient fiscal accountability. 

  1. What do you foresee as the greatest challenges facing the role of the county treasurer in the coming term?

Assuming that I am elected to the treasurer’s position, there will certainly be an introductory period where my greatest challenges will be creating associations with my co-workers and subordinates to ensure a harmonious working environment. Concomitantly, I will need to put my best foot forward to create a smooth transition with county residents regarding the services they have grown used to expect. Perhaps most importantly, I will be required to become intimately familiar with the budget and the other duties of the county treasurer. While I do expect to be a quick study in this arena, I, nevertheless, will need to expend much energy becoming proficient as quickly as possible. Finally, I will be dependent on my subordinate(s) to be helpful in providing me with insights into the intricacies of the job that may facilitate a quicker mastery of my everyday duties. 

  1. What are some of your goals for the future of the county treasurer’s office? How would you work toward establishing and maintaining those goals? 

If there is anything I have learned in my professional life, it is that one cannot come into a position like a bull in a china closet and immediately begin to initiate change. I like to enter a position and work under the existing rules until I determine that the rule in question requires either modification or change altogether. Moreover, I have always had a penchant for trying to improve the working conditions of the employee in any way that I can. For instance, in one position, I was successful in changing the payroll system to electronic deposits, thus allowing the employee access to their cash a day earlier. Some employees liked the system, others did not. Since the system was voluntary, no one was harmed. In general, however, I can sum up my goals for this position in the following manner: maintain or improve customer service to the county resident; maintain or improve interdepartmental communications and working environments; working closely with the county judge and board of commissioners ensuring accurate and timely accounting information. In general, I would like my presence at the courthouse to be harmonious, productive, and beneficial to all. 

 

Frances Garcia (D)

  1. Tell us about yourself. What experience will you bring to this role? 

I was born and raised here in Marfa. I have been working for Presidio County for 20 years. I started with the Presidio county/district clerk’s office as deputy clerk where I worked for six years. I applied and was hired at the county attorney’s office where I worked for another six years. I was then convinced to run for county treasurer. In 2014 I ran and won my first term as treasurer.   

  1. How, in the role of county treasurer, will you optimize systems and work effectively with others?

I have always had and will continue to have an open-door policy. Any employee, elected official or constituent is welcome to come by my office anytime or call me during work hours.  

  1. What do you foresee as the greatest challenges facing the role of the county treasurer in the coming term?

The greatest challenges facing not only the treasurer’s office but the county as well has been disruption due to COVID. We have had to close some offices due to some employees being exposed. We have, at times, been short-handed but do everything possible to make things work. The laws and regulations in the Legislature continue to change. Federal and state laws constantly require us to put different policies in place. This is a never-ending challenge, not only for Presidio County, but for all counties.  

  1. What are some of your goals for the future of the county treasurer’s office? How would you work toward establishing and maintaining those goals? 

My goal is to get an “Unqualified Opinion” on our next annual audit and any audits thereafter. Working together with all county departments will make this goal possible. I will continue to do the best I can as treasurer of Presidio County. I appreciate your time and your support. Let experience continue to work for you.