Henry Thomassen, a retired corporate officer, is running for Treasurer of Stafford County, citing a need for more tech innovation. The position is currently held by Laura Rudy.
Name: Henry Thomassen
Running for: Treasurer of Stafford County
Work: Retired. Former corporate officer.
Education: MBA in finance from Rutgers University; BA from U. North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Community Involvement: I have been a community activist for many years. Basically, where there is a problem I try to organize people to get it fixed. Perhaps my greatest accomplishment was getting a new road built to alleviate traffic congestion at George Mason University.
Questions and Answers
PL: What are the top three major issues facing the district you wish to represent?
Thomassen: There are many problems at the Treasurer’s office: 1) Checks and electronic transactions are not deposited promptly losing interest for the county; 2) Lack of innovation – the Treasurer should make the payment process easier; 3) Customer service needs improvement.
PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
Thomassen: Do a top to bottom review of procedures to determine what is going wrong. Review banking relationships to get a better deal for the County. Initiate and encourage the County to adopt a smart phone app for all things Stafford County. And, finally, aggressively use/advertise underutilized tools already in place, such as electronic billing, to lower costs.
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?
Thomassen: The Treasurer is responsible for collecting taxes and fees, investing those funds to create interest income and then making the money available for the County to spend.
PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?
Thomassen: 29 years of relevant corporate experience with ExxonMobil.
PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well-informed and understands the workings of local government?
Thomassen: Good question. The average citizen does not know what the Treasurer of Stafford County does. I will increase outreach to community organizations to change that. But I also think we need to determine if this job should be appointed and not elected. We vote for the Board of Supervisors to make these types of hiring decisions. Many counties appoint their Treasurer. Virginians go to the polls every year – that is too much. I think we need to reduce this burden.
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
Thomassen: This would be my first elected office – and probably my last. I see a real need to fix problems in the Treasurer’s office. So, so far, no major errors in my public life.
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
Thomassen: I have the experience, education and training to do a better job than the incumbent. This is a nuts and bolts position – very easy to determine if the job is being done correctly. It is currently not being done correctly.