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Published: December 24, 2019

Improving to serve you better

One of my favorite topics is the talented, dedicated people who work for you in Lawrence County government.  Today I’m proud to tell you about the accomplishments of four individuals and why you should be proud of them, too.

Three graduated Tuesday, December 10 from the Certified County Finance Officer (CCFO) program, designed by Tennessee’s Comptroller of the Treasury and UT’s County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS).  CTAS provides advice, training, and many other services to Tennessee counties. The Comptroller’s office oversees every aspect of financial operations on the state, county, and municipal level.

New CCFOs in Lawrence County are Director of Accounts & Budgets Teresa Purcell; Assistant to the Director of Accounts & Budgets Brandi Williams; and Highway Department Office Manager Patsy Lee.

The program required them to complete 11 courses on topics including Government Accounting, Financial Reporting, Debt Management, Risk Management, and Enterprise Resource Planning. Knowing the standards of the agencies that designed these courses, I’m sure they were comprehensive and just as difficult as they sound. To remain CCFOs, they will complete 16 hours of continuing education every year.

The fourth individual is Lawrence County Property Assessor Barbara Kizer, who was recognized with the 2019 Three Star Certification from the Tennessee Association of Assessing Officers (TNAAO), made up of Assessors from all 95 counties.

“The Three Star Certification is a professional standard of operations recognized by the TNAAO,” said the organization’s Executive Director, Will Denami. “The certification represents an operational analysis for compliance in the numerous standards monitored by the (Comptroller’s) division of property assessments, as well as, a demonstrated commitment to continuing education. Barbara Kizer’s focus on professionalism in her office is recognized as a best practice and foundational to the Three Star Certification.”

This is not the first time Kizer and her staff have been recognized by TNAAO. In 2016, her office was presented an Excellence in Operations Award from that organization, placing it in the TNAAO Hall of Fame. In 2017, she was voted the Middle Tennessee Assessor of the Year by TNAAO.

Teresa Purcell, Patsy Lee, and Barbara Kizer also hold the title of Certified Public Administrator.

Why are the accomplishments of these intelligent, accomplished women important to Lawrence County taxpayers? My last word was the clue . . . their work is vital to the proper collection and handling of your tax dollars.

Director of Accounts & Budgets Teresa Purcell and her staff deal with the financial operations of every county department and make sure we meet ever-changing requirements from state and federal agencies. The work she and her Assistant Brandi Williams do is key to Lawrence County’s financial stability and security.

Highway Department Office Manager Patsy Lee handles bookkeeping and many other tasks for one of Lawrence County government’s biggest divisions. Its financial operation involves more than 30 employees, a lot of equipment, and materials whose prices fluctuate with the price of oil.

Barbara Kizer’s office assesses the value of all land and buildings in Lawrence County, as well as the equipment, machinery and raw materials owned by businesses and industries. Her staff also keep up with changes that affect a property’s value, and its ownership – a VERY big job considering that there are 23,512 different properties in Lawrence County. It’s easy to see why her job is crucial to Lawrence County government and its taxpayers.

Please join me in congratulating Teresa Purcell, Brandi Williams, Patsy Lee, and Barbara Kizer. Their accomplishments help Lawrence County government work better for us all.