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Marie Scott - 2010 Election Candidate Questionnaire

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Marie Scott, imcumbent, is running for the position of County Clerk

River Journal Questionnaire for 2010 Election Candidates


Candidate Name:              Marie Scott


Position running for:                   Clerk of the District Court

                                                                This position includes the following duties and responsibilities as well:

                                                Ex-officio Auditor and Recorder

                                                Chief Elections Officer

                                                Chief Budget Officer

                                                Clerk to the Board of Commissioners

                                                Indigent & Charity Operations

                                                Veterans Services


Incumbent?                               Yes


Political Party Affiliation:            Democrat




1.      What special skills and/or experience do you have that enables you to do this job?


Recent or pertinent employment history: 

            Clerk of the District Court, Ex-officio Auditor and Recorder for Bonner County

            Supervisor in the Comptroller’s Office at the University of Idaho

            Comptroller’s Office at Idaho State University


Relevant Professional Affiliations:

            Chairman of the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee

            President of the Idaho Association of County Recorders and Clerks

            Member of the Board of Directors for the Idaho Association of Counties

District 1 Chairman of the Idaho Association of Counties


Relevant Experience:

            20 years as the Clerk of the District Court

            A strong background in Fund Accounting – the method used by the County

            Worked to develop the first Recorder’s Manual for the State of Idaho

            Chief Elections Officer for Bonner County



2.      Do you believe that money impedes the political process?  Please explain, and share any ideas you might have regarding any issues this raises.


Any candidate needs to be prepared to finance the costs of their own campaign.  The costs vary depending upon the office sought and how active a campaign your opponent is mounting.  As the chief elections officer for the county, campaign disclosure reports filed with me by county candidates show a low of about $1,500 to an extreme high in a sheriff’s race of over $14,000 for contested races.  That does not mean that only rich people can run for office.  As a member of the lower middle-class, I’m a perfect example of that. A candidate is free to solicit donations to help finance the campaigns.  Some are more successful than others along those lines. 


3.      What specific actions would you take, if elected, to make government at your level more transparent to the voter?


Clerk of the District Court

Easily the busiest part of my responsibilities! With over 20,000 court cases filed annually, I and my deputies work in conjunction with the District Judge and two resident Magistrates to provide many varied services to you.   Some of these include a court assistance officer; drug court; pre-trial conferences; mediation; youth court – all of which are designed to make the courts more ‘user friendly’ and efficient thus making the best use of your tax dollars.


County Auditor

A strong accounting background is necessary to effectively administer the 50 million dollar county budget.  I have such a background.  The financial condition of the county has improved from weak to strong.  We no longer use your tax dollars to pay interest on borrowed money to meet our first quarter obligations!


County Recorder

I led the development of the first statewide training program and procedural manual for county recorders.  The program is still in place with the training conducted by the State Attorney General’s Office.  We have upgraded our operations and are now digitizing our system by scanning our documents.


Chief Elections Officer

No dimpled or pregnant chads here!  We scan your ballot electronically to obtain fast and accurate results! We have ballot marking devices in the polling places to better meet the needs of sight and hearing impaired persons. The machines are giant electronic pencils for marking purposes only.  They do not keep track of any votes.  These machines were paid for with grant monies and not your tax dollars.  We have also placed election information on the county web site to provide more information and services to the public for easier access. (See www.co.bonner.id.us then follow these links: Departments>County Clerk>Elections)


Clerk to Board of Commissioners

With 22 newly elected commissioners since 1986, the Commission policies, procedures and direction constantly change.  Marie knows the corporate history to capably assist them achieve their goals while working diligently to protect your tax dollars.


Resource for Taxing Districts

Your County Clerk is the primary contact for the 42 taxing districts in Bonner County.  My staff and I provide help, advice, guidance, and direction in matters relating to budget preparation, levy limitations, and in election conduct and administration.


Indigent & Charity Operations

Through this reimbursement program we work with other agencies and area medical providers to enable our residents to obtain medical services they may otherwise not be able to pay for. 


Veterans Services

We have a service officer on staff to assist veterans with their claims and in obtaining medical assistance through the VA programs.  Our officer is a decorated Vietnam Vet who understands the problems you face and is anxious to help you obtain the benefits to which you are entitled.


4.      Are there any positions taken by your affiliated political party that you would personally feel uncomfortable endorsing?


Hmmm…. guess I’d better go read that platform, eh?  Please see question #6.


5.  Can you explain how to balance the people’s need for services with their desire for lower taxes?  Can you give specific examples of budgets you would cut or increase, and your reasons why?  Please share any alternatives you may have to the current taxing situation. (For example, someone might prefer an income tax be repealed and replaced with a sales tax, or vice versa.)


Pose this question to a crowded room, “Who wants to see their taxes go down?”  Just about every hand in the room will be raised.  Yet, from one election cycle to the next, the constant areas of concern expressed by tax payers is the level of support provided to enhancing the county roads we all use every day and the level of support provided to those areas associated with public safety.  For the most part, folks want financial support for those areas increased.  On the County level, only the Commission has the authority to cut or increase any budget.  They are also the only ones with authority to determine what level of financial support, if any, other agencies will receive from the county.  That authority coupled with the Legislative restraint placed on property tax levy increases work together to keep budgets in check.  Additionally, your county elected officials and department heads work diligently at exploring other sources for revenues to help offset the increases they see in their own office operations. The county budget process is a balancing act performed on a tight rope to live within the confines of those restraints.


6.      Do you support removing the requirement of political affiliation (declaring as a Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc…) from any of our local elected position, as Montana has done?


Yes, I do.  I am also firm in my resolve that the positions must remain elected and that none should ever serve at the pleasure of the Board of County Commissioners.  To do otherwise would remove the independency of the position.  A political appointee might not have the fortitude necessary to take the tough stand against their employer when necessary.  Whereas a fellow elected official would have no fear of retribution in doing so.


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Marie Scott

is a Democrat, and serves as the Clerk for Bonner County. She is running as the incumbent in the 2010 general election.
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Politics, Bonner County, Marie Scott, election, county clerk

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