Buerman takes over as county treasurer
by Rick Nichols
Timing is everything, they say, and for Lisa Buerman, Jefferson County’s new county treasurer, her timing couldn’t be better … or worse.
When Deputy County Treasurer Linda Southiere retired more than a year ago, then County Treasurer Mary Underwood had to find someone else to be her second in command and tapped Buerman to fill the position. That was in February of 2015. Fast forward to this February, when the longtime treasurer made public her plans to retire and leave office Friday, March 25 — Good Friday — having already let it be known to “the powers that be” that she wanted her deputy treasurer to be her replacement.
In this case “the powers that be” were the Republican precinct committeemen and committeewomen of Jefferson County, who by law were responsible for choosing Underwood’s successor since she was a Republican. Eighteen members of the Grand Old Party assembled in Oskaloosa March 8 for what was technically a convention, and when the time came for them to take a vote, they all went with Buerman, the only professed candidate in the room.
Beginning Monday, March 28, the job would be hers.
During her 16 years plus as the county treasurer, Underwood and her staff handled five sales of tax-delinquent properties and did at least some of the work involved in getting ready to hold a sixth sale. So it will be up to Buerman and her co-workers to take care of whatever else needs to be done, then oversee the sale, which is just 26 days away. How’s that for timing?
The sale scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 26, on the second floor of the courthouse will see just under 400 properties made available to would-be buyers. The legal notice published in the official county newspaper July 30, Aug. 6 and 13 of last year identified just over 400 tax-delinquent properties as being potentially eligible for resale at some point, so very few properties have been redeemed by their owners within the past seven months or so, meaning Buerman and her co-workers haven’t seen their workload become significantly lighter.
Buerman has been employed by the county in the treasurer’s office since September of 2003. She was a motor vehicle clerk for three years, manning one of the windows at the front counter to assist customers with the renewal of their license plates or the issuance of new plates, then became a bookkeeper. And it was as a bookkeeper that she continued to serve the public through Friday, Underwood’s final day on the job.
Buerman is now in charge of a staff that will be comprised of eight people, four clerks, two bookkeepers, a motor vehicle supervisor and the deputy treasurer, when all of the positions have been filled. Along that line, during an interview the morning of March 22, the treasurer-to-be told the paper that Amanda Karmann, currently employed in the field of nursing, is tentatively scheduled to begin working in the office Monday, April 25 and will be the next deputy treasurer.
When asked if she was planning to make any changes in the way the office operates, Buerman said she would like to give residents of the county the opportunity to renew their driver’s licenses through the office starting as early as this summer. According to her, this county is the only county in Kansas where a driver can’t renew his or her license through the treasurer’s office.
Buerman also indicated that by the time the summer of 2017 rolls around, she would like to be in a position where the holders of commercial driver’s licenses could renew their licenses through her office. But that is assuming she is still “calling the shots,” if you will, at that point.
At the very least, Buerman will be the county treasurer until early next year, completing the remainder of Underwood’s fourth four-year term in office. When asked if she was planning to become a candidate for the position later this spring, she said she would be filing by petition. Along that line, in order to have her name placed on the ballot for the August primary election, she will need to secure the valid signatures of at least 173 Jefferson County Republicans by noon Wednesday, June 1, the filing deadline.
In the meantime, prompted by her educational interest in the subject matter, Buerman is taking certification classes offered online by Fort Hays State University. She is taking these classes through the Kansas County Treasurers Association.
Buerman and her husband, Jim, grew up in the Lawrence area but have lived in Jefferson County since 1982, when they found a place they could call home near McLouth.
The Buermans have two children and a grandchild.
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