GILLETTE, Wyo. — County 17 has sent out a questionnaire to those running in the primary election in August. The following are the answers from Rachael Knust, who is running to retain her position as Campbell County Treasurer.
- Please introduce yourself (include your name and hometown) and describe your educational and employment history.
My name is Rachael Knust. I have lived in Campbell County all of my life. I graduated from Campbell County High School in 1980. While growing up on our family ranch south of Gillette, I worked a few odd jobs. At the age of eighteen, I was hired part-time as a filer at the Campbell County Treasurers Office. I have been employed at the Treasurer’s office for the last forty years. It would have been forty-two years but I took a couple of years off to stay home with my son while he finished grade school. I have been married to my husband Dan Knust for twenty-three years. He is currently serving as the high school youth pastor at High Plains Community Church. Together we have three kids and four grandkids.
- Why have you decided to run again for this office?
Simply put, I enjoy my job and I enjoy serving the citizens of Campbell County, and I still have goals in place that I look forward to having the opportunity to fulfill, both personally and professionally in regards to the office of Treasurer. I enjoy helping our customers through some of the challenges they could potentially face while licensing a vehicle, or paying property taxes. I also enjoy coming along-side our veterans, and helping them discover all of the benefits they have earned in regards to the same potential issues. An additional reason I chose to put my name in the hat on May 12th, is in regards to our new payment schedule for mineral taxes. This new schedule is very complex, and I would appreciate the opportunity to see this new process through to its completion. I would also like to thank the citizens of Campbell County for entrusting me with the responsibility of serving as the treasurer for the past five years. One of those years which I served as the appointed Treasurer and the last four years as the elected Treasurer. If re-elected, I believe the experience I have gained over the past five years would be of great benefit to the employees of our office, and to our community moving forward. Finally, I would like to continue to build upon the firm foundation that has been laid by our former County Treasurers, Shirley Study and Becky Brazelton.
- What should voters know about the purpose and operations of this office?
The main purpose of the Treasurer’s office is to follow, and carry-out the state statues that are put in place. Within this are several other purposes; take care of collecting motor vehicle fees, collecting sales taxes on the sale of each vehicle, collecting property taxes, and then disperse the money to all the different entities. There are several others purposes our office fulfills, such as; collecting the revenue from the other county agencies, i.e., the recreation center, landfill, airport, children developmental center, the museum, the library, and other departments within the courthouse; i.e., the District Clerk of Court, the Clerk’s office, the Assessor’s office, Drug Court, along with many others. This highlights just a few of the responsibilities of the Treasurer’s Office.
- What experience and/or educational background do you have that makes you a great fit for the office you are running for?
Simply put, my experience. I have literally worked my way up through the ranks in our office. I have served in every position in the treasurer’s office over the past 40 years. I began as a part-time filer, I have been a clerk one, two, three and four, and I served as Deputy Treasurer for 2 ½ years before being appointed as Treasurer following the unfortunate and untimely death of then Treasurer Becky Brazelton, and I have served as your elected treasurer for the past 3 ½ years. Since becoming treasurer I have taken several leadership classes and have been involved in extensive training in regards to our new financial software system within the county.
- The position you are running for has minimum criteria. Do you believe there are additional qualifications that would help the person who will hold this office be best suited for the position? If so, how do you meet those additional qualifications? And in what ways can you improve as a leader?
As I stated in an early response, experience is the one thing I believe would be at the top of the list for required criteria. I believe someone who has come up through the ranks as I have, would be the best trained and would have the most effective education a person could have. In all reality if a person has not served as Deputy Treasurer, they would have a very tough time being an effective Treasurer. I and my two deputy treasurers (Crystal Connelly, and Yvonne Wagner), have had countless hours of training for the past 21/2 years in regards to our new financial software system. As a leader, I firmly believe in leadership training and support. So, I believe another key criterion in the Treasurer’s office is a person who has led at a high level of leadership.
- What are your goals for this office for your next term? How do you plan to accomplish them?
If re-elected, I would continue to build upon what we have put in place in regards to customer service. The conversation of customer service is on-going, but I believe our team has provided our customers with quality customer service and will continue to do so going forward. My commitment to the community is that our office will continue to strive for excellent customer service. We will achieve this by continuing to inform and educate the public about our on-line access to pay property taxes, and the ability to renew their licenses. There is the mail-in option as well. This in turn will help deter some of the long lines our customers may experience at the Treasurer’s Office. An additional goal of mine is in regards to our current credit card provider. I would like to continue to seek out a different provider that would possibly provide lower cost to our customers when using their credit cards.
- How will you effectively manage taxpayer dollars?
Like many other county departments, we have had to learn to be more creative and effective in our budgeting process. A large portion of our budget goes to our qualified team of employees. In regards to the rest of our budget we are very intentional about not over spending. We are like many families in Campbell County who run their household budgets; if we don’t absolutely need it, we don’t spend money on it.
- How will you ensure transparency and accountability in the office you desire?
The best way I can ensure transparency in the treasurer office, is to continue to have an “open door” policy. People from our community have, and I hope will continue to feel free to stop by my office anytime with questions or comments in regards to the treasurer’s office. In regards to ensure accountability, we are audited every year. Also, within our software programs we have the ability to see the dates, times, and who the employee was that made each transaction. We have this ability within both our financial software and our taxwise program which is used for transactions in regards to motor vehicles, sales tax, and property tax.
- Is there anything else voters should know about you?
I have a very strong moral compass, which has served me well over the past several years when dealing with some tough situations while serving as the County Treasure. I have also forged some very strong relationships with several county department. There have been several changes over the past few years in our office, and being on the ground floor of these changes I believe provide me with the skills and ability to serve this county well for the next four years if given the opportunity.