County treasurer won’t seek re-election this year

Photos by Tom Rivers, Susan Heard, the Orleans County treasurer for 23-plus years, announced she is retiring from the job on Dec. 31. She is pictured outside the treasurer’s office at 34 East Park St.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 March 2017 at 6:53 pm

Susan Heard has worked in Treasurer’s Office for 40 years, intends to run for Gaines Town Clerk

ALBION – Susan Heard was 18 on a summer work program when she started in the Orleans County Treasurer’s Office. She was planning then on a career as a dental assistant.

But Heard liked the job at the Treasurer’s Office. She also decided that the job of a dental assistant, with her hand in someone’s mouth, wasn’t what she wanted to do.

She worked her way up in the Treasurer’s Office under then Treasurer Mary Basinait.

When Basinait retired, Heard was elected treasurer at age 34. She has been elected to six four-year terms.

“You’re accountable for every penny that comes into the county, everything from the federal and state governments, and the sales tax,” she said today.

Heard announced she will retire as treasurer on Dec. 31, deciding against another four-year term in the role.

However, Heard would like to continue a career in public service. She is running for Gaines town clerk. She also is backing her deputy treasurer, Kim DeFrank of Murray, to succeed Heard as treasurer.

Kim DeFrank

DeFrank has worked in the office for 23 years, starting from the bottom like Heard and working her way up.

“She knows the job,” said Heard. (The Treasurer’s Office includes 5 ½ employees.)

DeFrank has reached out to the executive committee of the Orleans County Republican Party, stating her interest in serving as the next treasurer. The GOP will meet April 27 to make its endorsement.

Heard is well regarded among the other treasurers in the state. They picked her as county treasurer of the year about a decade ago.

Heard said the treasurer is the “watchdog” of the county’s finances, an annual budget of about $65 million with hundreds of line items.

The treasurer is responsible for the investment of all funds, processes payroll, payroll tax returns and payroll deductions. The treasurer also maintains health insurance for all county employees and retirees.

A description of the treasurer’s work on the county website also states:

“The Treasurer issues and accounts for all vendor payments, with the exception of Self Insurance. Federal and State Aid are received through the County Treasurer and are reconciled against departmental claims. Bank reconciliations are performed in the Treasurer’s office for all funds.

The County Treasurer issues Certificates of Residency for enrollment at a Community College, collects and records bail deposits, fine payments, dog licensing, dog damage claims, accounts for unpaid school taxes and unpaid recycling fees.

The County Treasurer is the chief tax enforcing officer for County taxes; collecting and enforcing payment of all delinquent taxes, including tax billing, recording of tax liens, tax foreclosure and acquisition of County-owned property.”

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