Editorial: The Golden Hammer endorses County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport for re-election on March 6, 2018

County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport (left) with close friend and Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack (right), April 28, 2017.

THE GOLDEN HAMMER EDITORIAL BOARD

The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, endorses Stephanne Davenport for re-election as Montgomery County’s Treasurer in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election. So far, Davenport runs unopposed for this position. The Golden Hammer hopes and respectfully suggests that no one should file to challenge Davenport for the Treasurer’s position.

The 2018 Republican Primary Election will be about R-E-F-O-R-M. The County government needs to (1) reduce spending (and taxation) drastically, by at least $100 million out of the $377 million budget, (2) increase law enforcement spending substantially to get our community in line with national averages for law enforcement “boots on the ground,” (3) take some of the savings from the reduction of wasteful spending and build up a capital reserve fund, and (4) bring strong ethics reform to the County government that includes a hard and fast anti-nepotism policy, no tolerance for conflicts of interest, and a COMPLETELY open government (with the tiniest legal exceptions). THERE SHOULD BE NO INNER DOORS INSIDE THE SADLER ADMINISTRATION BUILDING!

This newspaper has run some articles that some might take as critical of Davenport. Nevertheless, The Golden Hammer does not engage in hero worship or the “politics of personality.” This newspaper respects and admires a lot of the work of Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, but he was one of the recipients of “The Golden Hammer Award” two weeks ago nonetheless. As a community, we shouldn’t expect elected officials to be perfect people. (There’s only been one perfect “person” in history.)

Davenport deserves re-election, because she has kept her head down and her nose to the grindstone of County work for the past four years that she’s been County Treasurer. We asked her yesterday (May 8, 2017) what she felt were her three major accomplishments in office. Davenport responded, (1) her reorganization of her County Treasurer’s Department which resulted in $31,505 in Department Budget savings and reduction of staff through attrition, (2) the collaborative workshops Davenport, the Risk Management Department, and the Human Resources Department have established as an annual payroll and personnel workshop to assist employees in other County Departments stay up-to-date on proper methodology or payroll and personnel functions, and (3) her streamlining of financial functions within the County, including the implementation of a cash handling policy.

Davenport worked her way up in the Treasurer’s Department until her appointment in June, 2013, as the County Treasurer to succeed Martha Gustavsen who retired. In early 2015, Davenport was diagnosed with breast cancer. She endured some grueling chemotherapy and surgeries but enjoyed the love and comfort of her husband Marc. What is the most amazing about Davenport, however, is that while she fought cancer – and defeated the disease – she continued to work every day. Marc Davenport told The Golden Hammer that Stephanne Davenport came to work every day, because she genuinely loves her job and couldn’t imagine not working there any business day. Stephanne Davenport is wholeheartedly dedicated to making the Treasurer’s Department work as well as possible and seamlessly. That’s amazing dedication to the best interests of Montgomery County.

A lot of The Golden Hammer‘s criticism of Davenport has resulted from political pressures that other County Departments have placed upon her, especially the County Judge’s Office. Through it all, Davenport has persevered. Davenport is human and no one is saying she’s perfect and hasn’t made a few mistakes.

Stephanne Davenport, as County Treasurer, fits very nicely in a County government that is working towards significant reform. She has learned from her mistakes. She listens. She reforms as she progresses. She’s made it clear to this newspaper that she’s willing to take on other duties and responsibilities. The Golden Hammer believes the County Treasurer should subsume the statutory duty of the County Auditor to serve as the Chief Budget Officer, so that the Auditor can focus on her proper role as an independent auditor not involved in the political machinations of the County government.

No one should run against Davenport. The voters need to focus their attention on other matters in the March, 2018, Republican Primary. We don’t need to reform an elected official who is doing a good job and is willing to take on more work. Especially, a nice person such as Stephanne Davenport.

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