OUR VIEW: Commission correct on passport disputeMembers of the Davison County Commission were right to question a schedule change that recently went into effect at the county Treasurer’s Office.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Members of the Davison County Commission were right to question a schedule change that recently went into effect at the county Treasurer’s Office.
The office no longer is processing passports continually throughout the week. Instead, Treasurer Brenda Veldheer decided the office only will process passports from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Tuesday, a short but heated conversation took place early during the commission’s regularly scheduled meeting, when commissioners questioned the new schedule.
Some of the commissioners say they have been fielding complaints about the new schedule. We appreciate that the commissioners have followed up on those queries.
As an example, consider coming to The Daily Republic’s office and being told that the newspaper is only processing classified ads during two time windows, three days per week. Further imagine that although the newspaper advertises that it accepts classified ads, it won’t budge on its new system, and those who drove into town to do this business either have to wait or come back another time.
The Daily Republic is a privately owned company. The Davison County Treasurer’s Office is publicly owned, by the very taxpayers who expect this service.
Veldheer said her office is too busy to take the time to do passports at all hours of the workweek, and two people who were trained to do the work are no longer employed at the office. If that’s true, we suggest the commission consider shifting some money to hire additional help or get immediate training for her office.
Each passport takes about an hour to process. In Veldheer’s defense, she noted that she has posted the new hours and that she feels her office’s chief purpose is to process titles and taxes.
While that might have been true historically, the simple fact is that Veldheer’s office must adjust to this new role. Because of new federal regulations, passports can no longer be handled by the Register of Deeds Office, which formerly did the work.
Veldheer and her staff should accept their new reality, rather than try futilely to turn back the clock. The taxpaying public needs this service, and it should be provided whenever the office is open.
The commissioners were upset that Veldheer simply went forward with these new hours, posted a sign and then didn’t inform them of the changes.
Although Veldheer is an elected official and does her work at the pleasure of voters and not commissioners, we agree with the commissioners on this one.
They are the ones who answer the day-to-day complaints of constituents. They, too, are elected officials expected to run the county as they see fit.