I must say that I was extremely disappointed in Marion’s Chronicle Tribune today as my eyes glanced over the front page and absorbed a considerable amount of slanderous information on the Jonesboro city treasure. I had always thought that our newspaper valued reporting the fact and not unsubstantiated and biased rumors but I guess I was mistaken. Public rumors of Karen Owen mishandling records goes against the character of a woman that I have known for years and I needed to find out more. I wanted to talk with her and find out not only what she thinks, but how she is handling the situation.
Mrs. Owen’s position as treasurer for the city of Jonesboro began expectantly back in 11/21/60. I’m not sure what the circumstance was since I was recovering from a terrible accident. What I do know is that she was not originally elected to the post and acquired it from an elected official quitting. Karen is not an accountant and had no prior knowledge of all the work involved for this post. There was no one to train her for the job and no “How to Manual” on what to do. But rather then quitting, she took her job seriously and persevered. She can be quoted as saying “It’s like a giant puzzle and I know I can do this.”
What is certain is that audits are done yearly to make sure the bookkeeping is up to date and the transaction figures accurate. They may require a sticky note or a hundred of them to help clarify some of the information but the records are up to date. All records are public and at the moment available by request. The city is in a transitionary period at the moment though to make all records available through the click of a mouse.
Karen once told me when I took my volunteer treasurer position “it’s a job nobody wants so don’t worry and do the best you can.” I also know that this is a job that you can not do on your own and it takes a good support team to help you succeed. I have a wonderful board to help me out and I was pleased to see at tonight’s council meeting that Karen has a supportive board as well. Our Mayor Akers complimented her on her dedication to the job stating that she has sometimes stayed until two in the morning making sure everything is in order. Denis Conrad also commented on her personality and working habits by saying that she was easy going and easy to work with.
That being said, we must realize that if we hold a position of authority we are held to a higher standard and will be under constant scrutiny by others. There will always be a “devils advocate” ready to test us. It has also been hinted that this might be politically motivated since it is election year for our officials. But I will skip on my thoughts about political parties for now since they like to fight as if they are a severely dysfunctional family.
Remember: We are all tested, but it is through faith in Christ and our willingness to do our best and what is right that will help us succeed. Remember to smile when they speak and look them in the eye. Help them to feel that their opinion counts. Keep on smiling and try not to get irritated when their listening skills are not as developed as yours. Then always ask yourself “how can I be better?”