Archive for Friday, January 16, 2004

Former deputy treasurer plans run for office

January 16, 2004

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A former deputy Douglas County treasurer wants the top job, and intends to file as a candidate next week.

Sharon Englebrecht, a safe deposit attendant for US Bank, said Thursday that she formally would enter the race Tuesday, which would have been her late father's 89th birthday.

A victory Nov. 2 would return Englebrecht to the Douglas County Courthouse. She worked from 1997 to 2002 in the Treasurer's Office, processing deposits and supervising the office's real estate section.

"This is an opportunity, and I'm going to go for it," Englebrecht said. "Because of the five years I was there, I know what's going on. I'm not going in completely unaware of what that office does and what you have to know. I have a little bit of an edge on people."

Englebrecht, 58, is the first announced candidate for treasurer. The filing deadline is noon June 10. A primary election, if necessary, would be Aug. 3; the general election is Nov. 2.

Entering her first political campaign, Englebrecht, a Republican, intends to emphasize her experience, commitment and personal skills.

She's been working in financial services since graduating in 1963 from Lawrence High School. She has been a bookkeeper, bank teller, loan secretary, personal banker, customer-service supervisor and branch manager during her 36 years at banks in Lawrence and Eudora.

Englebrecht said she would work to create a mobile office -- likely in a recreational vehicle -- that could make visits to Baldwin, Eudora and Lecompton without taxpayers having to pay rent for satellite office space.

Englebrecht also said she would be in the main office five days a week. Anyone could come into the office with a question and leave with an answer -- or a promise to get one.

"I want to serve the public," Englebrecht said. "I want them to get what they pay for."

Englebrecht's previous tenure in office didn't end on her own terms.

She was fired Nov. 1, 2002, by Treasurer Pat Wells, for whom Englebrecht had served as campaign treasurer.

Englebrecht said she still didn't know why she was fired. Only two days before being let go, Englebrecht had received a positive job review and a raise to $52,000 a year.

Englebrecht declined to discuss the situation Thursday -- "I want to run a campaign on my own merits; I don't want any of it to go back on Pat," she said -- but soon after her firing she said that Wells had become frustrated with her questioning of some of Wells' investment decisions in recent years.

Some of those investment decisions later were exposed in an audit, which found that Wells had left as much as $2.8 million in county funds unsecured, in violation of state law.

Englebrecht and her husband, Bill, have been married 40 years. They have two grown sons and three grandsons.

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