Brazil Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen recently completed a week-long course at Ball State University, Muncie, from March 9-14 to enhance her knowledge and ability to do her job.
"The course was hosted by the Indiana League of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers (ILMCT)," McQueen said. "It was a great experience to have as I begin working toward additional certification over the next two years."
Upon completion of her training, McQueen will have three certifications -- Indiana Accredited Municipal Clerk (IAMC), Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC) and Certified Public Finance Administration (CPFA), all of which keeps her motivated.
"I made a campaign promise to keep up with modern ideas and this is helping me to fulfill that," McQueen said. "It is important for me to do the best job possible to serve the City of Brazil and its residents."
She said the best part of attending the course was being able to learn from other clerk-treasurers from the area.
"Even clerk-treasurers who have held the job for 20 years attended because there is always something new to learn, "McQueen said. "Being able to network was great because I was able to talk to clerks from Danville and Greencastle, who also use the InCode accounting system like Brazil. We were able to compare notes and I learned the city can receive reimbursements for excise taxes and sales tax on gasoline purchases we make."
She also said Greencastle Clerk-Treasurer Teresa Glenn informed her of training classes in New Orleans, specifically for InCode, and would be willing to teach employees in Brazil's Clerk-Treasurer's Office what they learned.
"Communication is a major factor in anything, but especially in politics," McQueen said. "Being able to form close bonds is helping us greatly."
McQueen attended two four-hour long classes each day, and also attended an additional class during dinner on the Tuesday and Thursday of the week.
"There was a lot of information to soak in, but it was fun," she said. "For me, I was able to learn the most in the workshop in budgeting, which has helped me prepare for setting up the city's 2009 budget."
She was able to attend the course through a grant she received from the (ILMCT), which paid for both the course and her lodging.
"It was an added benefit that the city did not have to cover any of the costs," McQueen said. "I am constantly looking for grants, not just for my classes but also for other city needs."
The next course McQueen plans to attend is from June 8-12, in Evansville.
"That one is put on by the State Board of Accounts who is the organization that audits Brazil," she said. "It will be extremely informative as I will be able to learn the newest changes and policies instituted."
McQueen also said her deputy clerk fills in for her when she attends classes.
"My deputy clerk is very capable to take care of things when I am gone," she said. "I hope to also take her with me to one of the classes down the road, at which point, residents can pay bills in the Mayor's Office."
Even with all the training she will receive in the future, McQueen knows the most important thing to do is to work well with other clerk-treasurers.
"You never know what information someone else might have or an option you haven't thought of," McQueen said. "It makes the potential for learning endless and definitely make a huge difference in how well I can perform my job."
* Northview High School, Class of 1996
* Associates Degree -- Ivy Tech State College, 2000
* Bachelors Degree -- Indiana State University, 2003
City of Brazil Work Experience:
* Intern, Brazil City Police Department, 1998-99
* Part-time Clerk's Assistant, January-June 2007
* Brazil Deputy Clerk-Treasurer, June-December 2007
* Brazil Clerk-Treasurer, January 2008-present
Fast Fact -- She is married to Brazil City Firefighter and Building Inspector Troy McQueen.