They're both Republicans, both are longtime Douglas County residents and both are women with more than two decades of experience in the financial industry.
For a few years they even shared the same office. At different times they did the same job for the same boss.
But Sharon Englebrecht and Cindy Monshizadeh know only one of them can become their party's nominee to succeed Pat Wells, the outgoing Douglas County treasurer who at different times considered each woman worthy of serving as her appointed deputy.
"I'm the best candidate," said Englebrecht, whose five years in the office ended in 2002, when she was fired as deputy treasurer over what Wells called a difference of opinion. "I'm friendly, I treat people like human beings and I talk to them, not over them."
"I think my youth will make a difference, and my progressive ideas -- my desire to explore and learn new technologies so that we can provide them to the citizens," Monshizadeh said.
Monshizadeh and Englebrecht square off in the Aug. 3 primary. The winner moves on to the Nov. 2 general election to face Democrat Paula Gilchrist.
The ultimate winner lands a $68,000-a-year job overseeing 20 employees and an annual operating budget of $375,000. The new treasurer takes office upon Wells' planned retirement in October 2005.
|Date of birth: April 30, 1945.Occupation: Safe deposit attendant, US Bank.Political experience: None.Family: Husband, Bill Englebrecht; two grown sons and three grandsons.Religion: Southern Baptist; attends Eudora Southern Baptist Church, Eudora.Address: 1115 Walnut St., Eudora.Key issues: Create a mobile office to take treasurer's services to taxpayers in outlying cities work in main office five days a week, to establish a consistent presence.|
The treasurer is among the county's most visible public officials, responsible for collecting taxes, issuing license plates for vehicles and investing county funds.
Monshizadeh said she would like to hire more employees to speed transactions at the treasurer's two satellite offices: 2108 W. 27th St., and inside Dillons, 4000 E. Sixth St.
County commissioners recently eliminated financing for a satellite office in Baldwin.
"The satellites are very vital to serving the citizens of Douglas County," said Monshizadeh, who also wants to boost electronic-payment options to include credit cards.
Englebrecht said she would seek a change in state law that would let treasurer to take services on the road. She said she would work to convert a recreational vehicle into a mobile office, enabling employees to drive their services to Baldwin, Eudora and Lecompton without having to pay the added expenses of renting office space or hiring more workers.
"I want to be very friendly to the citizens and give them the good service that they deserve," Englebrecht said.
Both candidates tout their experience as strengths.
Englebrecht said she had been working in financial services since graduating in 1963 from Lawrence High School. The Eudora resident has worked as a bookkeeper, bank teller, loan secretary, personal banker, customer-service supervisor and branch manager during her 36 years at banks in Lawrence and Eudora.
Monshizadeh entered the financial field 24 years ago. From 1980 to 1989, she worked as a teller, bookkeeper and internal auditor at Lawrence National Bank. She joined the Treasurer's Office in 1991 as a tax clerk and working her way up to bookkeeper before becoming interim deputy treasurer last year.
|Date of birth: Dec. 16, 1956.Occupation: Interim Douglas County deputy treasurer.Political experience: NoneFamily: Husband, Fee Monshizadeh; two children.Religion: Free Methodist; attends Free Methodist Church.Address: 3016 Yellowstone Drive, Lawrence.Key issues: Add employees to speed transactions at satellite offices; expand options for paying taxes with credit and debit cards; educate people about payment options and shifting tax deadlines.|