By Debra Moore
There are just four contested races for local Plumas County offices: District 3 and District 5 supervisor, the sheriff and the assessor.
The two individuals running for assessor work together in the office: Assessor Cindie Froggatt, whom the board of supervisors appointed to succeed Chuck Leonhardt, and Chief Appraiser Amy Hendrickson. They introduced themselves and answered questions during the League of Women Voters forum held May 4 in Graeagle.
Froggatt described raising five children with her husband in Plumas County and being very involved in the community, including with 4-H and Little League. She has worked in the assessor’s office since 2001 and was appointed assessor last year.
“Graeagle is where it all began for us,” Hendrickson told the crowd gathered at the Graeagle Firehall. He parents moved to the area and she followed, first working at Plumas Bank; and then becoming an appraiser. She is also involved in the community, chairing the Boosters Club for two years and coaching.
Please explain what the assessor does and why you are the best candidate.
Froggatt said the assessor is charged with appraising or assessing all of the property in the county, as well as is responsible for mapping.
Hendrickson listed off the types of assessments involved including business property, real property, and unsecured property such as boats, airplanes, hangars. “Things that I had no idea were assessable until I worked there,” she said.
What are your weaknesses? How do you plan to work on them?
Hendrickson said, “It’s stuff that we aren’t cross trained on in the office.” She said that people call the office all the time with questions and she would like to be able to answer them.
For Froggatt, she said her weakness is “real property appraisal.” She said she has taken classes, but doesn’t know it as well as she would like.
Why hasn’t the vacant assistant assessor position been flown or filled?
Froggatt said that she is trying to determine what the office really needs, and it’s also contingent on her office’s budget for the next fiscal year.
“Do we need it? Yes,” said Hendrickson and described how it “was all hands on deck” when the fires hit.
In a question directed to Hendrickson she was asked: You mentioned on the radio you have ideas, what were you referring to?
Hendrickson said that she want to use the assessor’s computer software as it’s intended. She said that “things that aren’t getting corrected that need to” such as the assessment for boats. She is also a big advocate of cross straining. “We should know a little about everything in the office, so that we can help people,” she said.
How much time do you spend in the office? Are you available for foot traffic?
I’m in the office almost all the time,” Froggatt said. She said she checks her emails and her phone messages when she’s not at work and gives out her personal cell phone number.
Hendrickson said she tries to be in the office 40 hours a week; but acknowledged that she does take time off to watch her son, who is a senior in high school, play baseball. When that happens she makes up the time.
What are the ongoing problems in the office?
Hendrickson mentioned the software and said that it’s “frustrating when we get a call from a taxpayer that something isn’t right” and she wants to ensure that what people are billed is correct.
“What Amy mentions is input not software,” Froggatt said.
Hendrickson said her comment “comes from a taxpayer at the Quincy forum” who said it has been happening with her boat for 10 years. “I want to fix things like that,” she said.
In a question directed to Hendrickson, she was asked: “What communication are you referring to when you said it needs to improve?”
“We don’t have weekly meetings,” Hendrickson said. “The whole office should be involved when we are discussing new legislation, problems … Those things take leadership. It’s a team. We should be all learning.”
Vote for Cindie Froggatt or Amy Hendrickson beginning next week when the county’s election’s office mails out the ballots for the June 7 Primary.