Kimball stresses experience in run for Jefferson County treasurer

Oct. 27—Dorena L. Kimball said she thinks her experience as deputy Jefferson County treasurer is the most important part of her candidacy as she runs to be elected to the top job in that office.

Kimball has been deputy treasurer for Jefferson County for 10 years, handling many aspects of the treasurer job in that time.

"I've been the deputy for 10 years to Karen Christie," she said. "I really have no concerns taking over, I've taken over when Karen goes on vacations."

She said the position is naturally uncontroversial. Treasurers, although elected, are not empowered to make any financial decisions for the county themselves, rather tasked with efficiently managing the decisions made by the county legislature. In many county governments across the state, the treasurer position is not elected but appointed by the county legislature.

Kimball said she believes the most important aspect of a candidate for treasurer is their experience in accounting and managing finances for large organizations. With a roughly $280 million budget for 2023 and hundreds of employees reliant on the county's treasurer to manage payroll, she said the position comes with some great responsibility.

"It's all about the qualifications for the job," she said.

Besides her 10 years in the office, Kimball has worked for over 20 years in county government, starting in the early 2000s at the county Public Health Service. She has a bachelors degree in accounting from Clarkson, and a masters in business administration from Clarkson as well. She finished the latter in 2017, saying she wanted to bring that education into the county treasurers office.

She said she had been surprised to see a challenger for the county treasurers office, after 35 years of uncontested Democratic control of the seat. It's one of the few elected positions the county Democrats have managed to hold onto in the county, but it rarely sees any political attention.

She said when it comes to the voters, she believes party affiliation doesn't matter for the treasurer's position, and they'll want the person who will be able to keep the office running without any breaks. She said she's undertaken extensive training on the specifics of the county's finances and New York state fiscal law, all of which would need to be taught to someone who wasn't already in the office.

Kimball is appearing on the ballot as a Democrat and Working Families candidate, against Brian S. Peck. Ballots will be available for early voting starting Sunday, at the Jefferson County Offices at 175 Arsenal St., Watertown and the Adams Municipal Center, 3 S. Main St., Adams. All polling sites will open on Nov. 7.