Computers were introduced into the workplace to make tasks easier.

However, that is not always the case. Union County Auditor Cheryl Begley discussed one of those situations with the county commissioners and later with county council.

Begley said she has a need for another full-time employee in her office. She needs someone to learn the job in the auditor's office involving taxes. 
Back when, offices used large ledger books and did everything with paper and pen. Begley said she could do that work as it was then, but with computers, the state has made the task very complicated and difficult.

“If this work was done the way it was done years ago, you had a long spread sheet, everything was in front of you,” Begley said. “I could even muddle through it. It's not even as simple as it was a few years ago. A few years ago it went to the state. Now it goes to Gateway. There are people in Gateway that look at it. Then, it goes to the state. If they find some problems with it, it is sent back to Gateway and then it's sent back to us.”

According to Begley, her office had some problems in January over the taxes, and it was not easy to get them straightened out.”

She has asked the state where she could go or where she could send an employee to have them trained on this aspect of the office. However, she has been told there is no way to train anyone on that task.

“I have checked everywhere to find out where I could go to get training,” Begley said. “There's no place for me to go and get training for.”
The person who is doing it now is off on sick leave. She would like to retire at some point in the near future.

Some other area counties have outside companies do that part of the auditor's office duties, but they charge a lot of money, Begley said.

“I have checked with a company that can come out and do it,” Begley said. “But we're talking about a lot more money than salaries for any employee.”
She said most counties have gone to the companies to do the work because the state has made the process so complicated.

If they hire an employee, the person needs to be full-time and train for about a year to learn everything necessary to do that job, Begley said.

“It's not something that you learn overnight,” Begley said. “It's a process that goes throughout the year.” 

During the budget hearings, Begley asked council to add an employee to her office, but council declined to do that. According to Begley, she understands the county's fiscal situation, but she said hiring a full-time employee may be the most financially responsible way to attack the problem.

“If we don't have anyone who can do the tax work, people aren't going to be paid or anything,” Begley said. “It's something you need to think about for the future of the county. It's leaving us very open to problems.

“I understand (county) finances more than anybody does,” Begley continued. “I do not come to you guys lightly. I'm trying to get the county prepared so when it happens, and it's going to happen, there's somebody there who knows what they're doing.”

Council member Bonnie Adams was concerned this would set a precedent with other office holders wanting more employees.

“I'm afraid though if you do that, then the next one who comes in will want another person, another person …” Adams said.

“That's on down the road,” Begley said. “I'm trying to take care of a situation that could be immediate. It could happen right now. Or it will happen in the very near future. I'm trying to get people prepared.”

Council member Chris Rosenberger said council should look at this as an insurance policy.

“We need to look at it like insurance,” Rosenberger said. “We pay a lot of insurance, and we don't get anything back. This is another insurance policy.”

Council member Jim Hensley said there is also the problem of training employees only to see them go elsewhere once they are trained.

Council took no action on the situation during its November meeting.