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Treasurer Virginia Beach City- Special Election

The Treasurer is responsible for collection and disbursement of revenue, maximizing investment of funds, and maintaining an accurate accounting of city monies. City Treasurer is a constitutional officer elected for a four-year term.This is a special election to fill a vacated seat. The winner will serve the remainder of the initial term.

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  • Candidate picture

    Laura Wood Habr

  • Candidate picture

    V. Leigh Henderson

  • Ralph M. Parham II

Biographical Information

Explain your top three priorities if elected.(1000 character limit)

What skills and talents would you bring to the office of Treasurer? (1000 character limit)

How can the Treasurer improve the lives of residents in your community? (1000 character limit)

Why should Treasurer be an elected position? (1000 character limit)

Campaign Phone (757) 639-6335
Biography Laura Wood Habr is a Virginia Beach native whose experiences running a small family business and over two decades of volunteer work have given her a unique perspective on our diverse community and insight into ways our citizens' lives can be improved. She understands their everyday struggles and wants to find ways to make interactions with the Treasurer's office more responsive, efficient, accountable and transparent. She and her husband Kal have owned Croc's 19th Street Bistro for over 25 years
Twitter @LauraWoodHabr
We elect our City Treasurer to protect the taxpayers' interests, not to serve the City's interests. There has not been a comprehensive independent audit of this elected office for over 40 years! This is not acceptable. My Priority One: I will immediately commission an independent third-party audit and investigation to provide a clear and objective view of office operating practices and any current defects. My Priority Two: I will utilize the audit findings in restructuring the office operating structure with efficient, accountable customer-focused processes. My Priority Three: Never let my staff forget who pays the bills for our City: the taxpayers.
The Treasurer manages the billing, collection and investment of the City's taxes.The duties are defined in law but the management of those duties falls upon the treasurer and are subject to review by the voters. My experience as a successful business owner/operator and managing both commercial and non-profit enterprises in the private sector over the past 20 years abundantly qualifies me to manage and lead the operations of the Treasurer's Office. I have worked effectively with residents and business operators and will do the same to improve the operations and culture of the Treasurer's Office
I will transition the disjointed legacy data management systems on which the current treasurer depends to contemporary technologies with efficient and accountable processes, and report on office operations and investment activities to provide transparency. I will provide citizens with secure access to personal accounts to confirm their status and transact their business. I will work for, and with, taxpayers to make their required experiences with the Treasurer's Office fast, fair and efficient.
The City Treasurer is a Constitutional Officer, directly elected by Virginia Beach voters and accountable to them. That means meeting their expectation: answering their questions, quickly correcting mistakes, helping them fix problems. The Treasurer is supposed to serve as an advocate for the people and keep the bureaucracy out of the way. Accomplishing that can be difficult when you're stuck in the same ways of doing city business for over 40 years.
Campaign Phone (757) 621-2523
Biography Leigh Henderson became the Treasurer of Virginia Beach on 1/1/19. She started in 2000 as an accountant, progressing to Accounting and Investments Administrator, then Chief Deputy Treasurer, and now Treasurer. Leigh graduated from ODU in 2000 with a B.S. in Accounting and another in Finance. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the Virginia Investment Pool and is a member of the Treasurer’s Association of Virginia. She is a Certified Treasury Professional and a Master Governmental Treasurer.
I will continue to expand services that can be conducted on-line. We will continue to improve on the recently implemented assessment & collection system to create synergy between offices, which will in turn benefit the taxpayers. Another priority is a more active collections process. Efficient and effective collections will benefit the overall City to increase incoming revenue in the hopes of keeping the tax rates down for everyone. State code provides an elected Treasurer many tools of collection, and while these tools are necessary, they must also be exercised with compassion and fairness. Another priority is to continue to improve on customer service. This includes training of office personnel and continuing my public open door policy.
I bring knowledge of all aspects of the Treasurer’s Office. During my 19 years in the office, I have either done the job, helped create technology for the job, or have supervised the operations. Along with my extensive educational background (a Bachelor’s in both Finance and Accounting, Master Governmental Treasurer, and Certified Treasury Professional). I am skilled at working with taxpayers to resolve their issues with compassion and fairness. I bring great attention to detail and analytical skills that are imperative when working with taxpayers’ money.
I have opened a new office and relocated another to a more convenient location for improved accessibility. I strive to make paying taxes as simple and painless as possible. My staff works very hard at being fair and compassionate while still collecting as mandated by VA Code. By holding my staff to a higher standard, I impart my customer service values on them. I have led the way on technology improvements, and will continue to do so. A higher collection rate means less chance of tax increases.
The Treasurer should be accountable to the people, not to City Council or the City Manager. Having the same body that determines the tax rates appointing the person collecting those taxes opens the door for corruption. It is also important to have a segregation of duties between the offices that assess property and the Treasurer’s Office that bills & collects. Having an elected Treasurer also allows for more collection methods, as authorized by Virginia Code.
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