Tax collector office transition generates more turbulence

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, January 12, 2012

The transition from one administration toanother in the tax assessor/collector’s office experienced anotherbout of turbulence Wednesday morning when the former office holderarrived to complete her final duties.

    Rita Goss assumed office Jan. 3, but Goss’ predecessor Nancy Jordanmust complete her settlement of the December accounts that remainfrom Jordan’s last month in office. December settlements must becompleted by Jan. 20, Jordan said.

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    Jordan and former tax office employee Vewanna Nations intended tobegin completing settlement duties Wednesday morning, but they weredenied access to the office by Goss, Jordan said.

    After intervention by other county officials, an agreement forrecords access was reached later Wednesday. A computer access issueremained unresolved.

    Under state law, various local entities must receive their share ofmoney brought in by the tax assessor/collector’s office inDecember, Jordan said.

    Those entities include the county, the city and local schools.Settling the December accounts would consist of allocating thecollected money as required.

    After some initial uncertainty over what would happen, Goss didturn over the records and documents Jordan and Nation neededWednesday morning, but she would not allow them in the office whiledoing their work.

    Goss issued a written statement about the incident but declinedfurther comment.

    “I made an agreement with Mrs. Jordan in (December) to relinquishall needed documents and/or information for the settlements to ourcounty,” Goss said in her statement. “She has been given access toeverything she needs. The settlement process takes a few days andmuch needed space.”

    However, space is exactly what Jordan and Nations lacked. AfterGoss turned over the required records, Jordan and Nations sat inthe Government Complex with boxes of documents but nowhere to gowith them until Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop intervened. Bishopgave Jordan and Nations access to the county administrator’s officeto complete their work.

    However, Jordan said she needs access to the computer in the taxassessor/collector’s office, because it is the only computer in thegovernment complex connected to a state database Jordan needsaccess to.

    Bishop consulted with Goss and secured an agreement that access tothe computer would be granted, but the timing of this accessremained vague.

    “I have made adjustments during our busiest time of the year,” Gosssaid in her statement. “I have made arrangements for Mrs. Jordan tocomplete her settlement to our county.”

    The timetable for completion of the December settlements by Jordanand Nations was unknown as of Thursday morning.

    Jordan said when she took the post, she allowed her predecessor tocome into the tax assessor/collector’s office and have a space tocomplete all remaining duties.

    “I feel like I owe the people to do my best on this finalsettlement,” Jordan said. “And (Goss) owes it to them for thefuture.”

    Nations was among seven office employees fired by Goss when shetook control of the office.

    Jordan chose not to seek re-election in last year’s generalelection after 12 years at the post. Jordan hopes the settlementissues can be settled quickly so she can actually begin theretirement she wants.

    “I’m ready to go fishing,” Jordan said with a laugh.