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COUNTY GOVERNMENT

Just ‘like a family’

Carroll County Treasurer Jean Seidl resigns after 20 years with county

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Every night, after Jean Seidl finishes up her last-minute emails and calls, she gathers up her belongings and heads out of the office feeling at ease.

Every morning, when she returns to work at the Carroll County Courthouse as the county treasurer, she knows everything will be as she left it — in working order.

After many years of getting to know each other and mastering their system, Seidl and her colleagues have crafted the perfect process.

But over time, they became more than just co-workers.

They are a family.

“I can’t say enough about my staff,” Seidl said. “Our office would not be as successful as it is without the staff I have. Saying goodbye will be (hardest to say to) my staff. We’re like a family, and I don’t say that lightly.”

Seidl, 63, recently resigned from her position of Carroll County treasurer, which she has held for the past six years. She has worked for the treasurer’s office for almost 21 years, and was appointed to the treasurer position in 2014 and was elected for a second term in 2018. She will work through the end of June.

“When I ran and was elected, I wanted to serve my second term,” she said while resigning during the Carroll County Board of Supervisors meeting Dec. 6. “I had every intention of completing this term and retiring at age 65, but because I didn’t know what the future would hold, I am going to be forced out of the office quite frequently over a period of time, so it’s in the best interest of my staff, my office and the county that I tender my resignation today.”

Seidl said her primary focus right now is getting out to Lakewood, Colorado, to spend time with her mom, who moved away from Carroll about 45 years ago.

“My dad passed away 20 years ago, and my brother has been kind of helping my mom,” she said. “She’s 90 years old.”

A Kuemper graduate, Seidl said that although they’ll make regular visits to Colorado, she and her husband Mike will remain in the area to be near their five children — Michaela Seidl, 42, Tony Seidl, 40, Jaci Smith, 39, Stephanie Bauer, 31, and John Seidl, 24, all of whom live nearby or in the Midwest — and their 11 grandchildren.

Over the years, Seidl said the Carroll County Treasurer’s Office has tackled many new duties such as recently taking on the role of issuing driver’s licenses after the Iowa Department of Transportation’s office in Carroll closed. The treasurer’s office also has learned and mastered various new software programs for property taxes and undergone other updates.

The latest task the treasurer’s office has been dealt is working on the bond issuance for the new county jail that currently is being built adjacent to the courthouse; so far, everything has been going smoothly, Seidl said.

“One of the challenges we still face is our space needs,” she said. “We’ve tried to do everything without doing the remodeling or without doing any of the modifications to our office. We really need to look at maybe some huge remodeling to make more room.”

One possibility she addressed was having the treasurer’s office extend toward the west side of the courthouse, where the auditor’s office currently is located.

The one regret Seidl has as she finished up her last few months in office is knowing Carroll County still cannot offer commercial driver’s licenses. But under the next treasurer, that could change.

“It’s really important that the county offers the skill testing,” she said. “That is the one regret I have is that we weren’t able to find the means to offer the CDL skill testing. We are so close.”

Seidl recommended that Lisa Wagner, an administrative assistant in the Carroll County Treasurer’s Office, be appointed to replace her beginning July 1.

“I don’t think people realize the quality of work (Wagner) does — her dedication. She keeps things running smoothly when I’m gone,” Seidl said. “She also serves as our tax and financial deputy, and she’s been the problem-solver for our office when we run into issues with tax or financial programs.”

After almost 21 years in the treasurer’s office, Seidl said the hardest goodbye she’ll have to say will be to her staff.

“I am going to miss my staff, and I am going to miss seeing the people we work closely with,” she said. “I just can’t begin to tell you the relationships I’ve built over the years because of this job. The job has had its challenges, but it also had its rewards as well. I’m just glad I had the opportunity to serve as treasurer.”

For her Christmas present this year, her staff — comprising all women — bought her a charm bracelet with each of their birthstones. On the bracelet is the word “sisters.”

Seidl grew up without any sisters, but now, she has seven of them, she said.

Between my sisters-in-law and these girls here, I have plenty of sisters,” she laughed.

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