McQueen, the Clerk-Treasurer for the City of Brazil, recently completed additional training at the Indiana League of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers (ILMCT) 72nd Annual Conference and State Board of Accounts School in Evansville.
"Being able to network with fellow clerk-treasurers and officials from the State Board of Accounts is a big plus in effectively doing my job," McQueen said. "They ask questions and discuss topics you might not think of, and it has helped me discover alternative ways of doing different things. The information I gather from going to these conferences goes a long way to make me a better clerk-treasurer."
She took Shawnette Szekely, her summer assistant, to the conference, and together they were able to create close contacts with officials who have valuable information.
"While I learned greater detail about Indiana Codes, the Circuit Breaker and House Bill 1001, the most beneficial part was creating relationships with people from the State Board of Accounts who can quickly answer my questions," McQueen said. "I had the chance to talk to them one-on-one, instead of over the phone, and now I have a better feel of who to get in touch with to receive a clearer knowledge and interpretation of different aspects of the job."
During the conference, McQueen moved one step closer to becoming a Certified Municipal Clerk, one of three certifications she hoped to gain in the next two years.
"The first day was spent taking a couple of classes about my role in local government and listening to a motivational speaker who was very knowledgeable," she said.
The speaker, former International Institute of Municipal Clerks President Susan L. Morrow, had a profound effect on McQueen.
"She said a couple of things that really stuck with me because, as a politician, they are so true," McQueen said. "She told us, 'Everything in my life that was worthwhile, I caught hell for,' and 'Small things done are better than big things planned.' Both of those are so true because being in a position of power can be a bit of a no-win situation, plus it is important to take on smaller projects that are achievable rather than planning out something big that you know has a little chance of happening."
As part of the State Board of Accounts school, McQueen gained valuable information about upcoming changes in her responsibilities and governing laws.
"There is a lot that will be changing July 1," she said. "The IRS was also there to provide tips on how to remain compliant with federal regulations. With legislation constantly changing, it is important to stay up-to-date with what the current public laws are."
The biggest hurdle for McQueen to overcome was to gain a better understanding of House Bill 1001 and the impending Circuit Breaker effects.
"With 874 pages, the bill is very complicated and tends to contradict itself," she said. "One of the main things most people don't realize is that with the cut in property taxes through the Circuit Breaker, many other things, like sanitation fees, will probably have to go up. It's not going to be popular, but the city still needs to be run effectively.