Public Administrator Candidate profile: Andy Reavis, R-Cassville
Publisher's note: The following Q&As represent this Barry County public administrator candidate's views verbatim, as submitted via email in response to our questions, and have not been edited. The candidates will face off on the Aug. 2 Republican primary ballot. The Republican primary will serve as the de facto general election, barring a late filing by an independent candidate. - JB
Current occupation: Chief Operating Officer, Billings Mutual Insurance Co.
Past experience: 31 years business background in the insurance industry
Education: Graduated Marionville High School; Attended MSU in Springfield, Mo.; Career field education includes several professional designations; Military education includes senior leadership development courses and instructor training.
1. Why do you want to be public administrator?
I love working with people. My entire career has centered around building long term relationships with customers, company personnel, agents and co-workers. The number of those relationships over the past 31 years would number in the thousands.
Serving as Public Administrator provides the challenge of learning a new career field plus the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives. Christian faith requires each of us to be compassionate toward others and help those needing our assistance. That's a big motivator for applying for this job and I believe the skills and experience I have learned over the last 31 years are a perfect fit for this role.
If elected, this position will also permit me to move closer to home and meet more people in Barry County. I can honestly say running for office has allowed me to meet some of the nicest people I have ever met and it would be a privilege to serve the citizens of Barry County Missouri.
2. What makes you more qualified for office than your opponents?
No candidate has prior experience working in the office of public administrator so I am unable (and won't) attest to the abilities and qualifications of my opponents. What I am able to provide is information about myself that makes me believe I am a qualified candidate for the office of Public Administrator.
First I am a long time resident and have deep ties to Barry County. The Reavis family are lifetime residents of NE Barry County while my wife Laura's family, Rayma Craig and Carroll and Sue (Trotter) Craig, are lifetime residents of the Cassville area. My 31 years of business experience taught me how to establish working relationships with both clients and business related contacts while my background as a small business owner and company employee taught me the financial side of running a business. I am very familiar with the accounting, banking and tax aspects of running a business.
In addition, I consider myself to be a quick learner and innovative when it comes to applying new ideas towards the improvement of any task or job to be performed. I am also willing to commit not only the time necessary to learn the position but to excel at being a professional in the area of public administration. All of these items combined gives me the confidence to know I would be a good public administrator.
3. What changes do you plan to make in the public administrator's office?
The word "change" seems to be synonymous with any recent election or political candidate. I believe change should occur only if needed so initially I'm a listener to all advice provided by the current and prior administrator before forming judgements on how the office should operate. The current and previous administrators have performed very well in taking care of client needs so I hope to learn from their experience. I have also reached out for advice from the long term, experienced administrators of adjoining counties.
The next administrator faces a bigtime learning curve on all aspects of the position. The service needs of clients and business requirements of the job won't diminish or go on hold while the new administrator fully learns the duties and responsibilities of the job. Not being familiar with those duties and the day to day operation of the office makes it hard to form an opinion on any item or process needing changed or modified.
Once familiar with the overall responsibility and job details, I'm sure there will be small changes made to things like task organization and work flow processes. As my experience grows, I will have a better overall view of the job and make any necessary changes or modifications, if needed, at that time.
I'm definitely not a status quo person and will always look every day to find ways to better serve client needs and make the office as efficient and professional as possible.
4. What specific goals do you plan to accomplish in your first term?
Specific goals for myself in the first term would include:
* Work closely with the current administrator to develop a smooth transition plan.
* Assess the overall operation of the public administrator office.
* Assess daily operations and develop an organization plan.
* Identify situations requiring special attention from the administrator.
* Develop priorities for any client needing additional attention.
* Develop priorities for all tasks subject to filing deadlines.
* Meet and introduce myself to each of the 158 current clients.
* Assess the needs of each client.
* Meet with and reaffirm the working relationship with the Probate Court.
* Meet with and reaffirm the working relationships with all current business contacts.
* Meet with and reaffirm the working relationship with the Beverly Mitchell, the current employee of the public administrator.
* Assess the handling of each client's financial resources.
* Seek out and enroll in any educational programs relating to the operation of the office of public administrator.
All of the above would be part of a fluid plan to learn as much as possible as fast as possible. Part of what I consider my strength as a candidate is the ability to work without supervision to quickly self-educate and self-start on any task.
5. What do you think is the biggest problem facing the public administrator's office? How do you plan to solve it?
Understanding and working with the changing clientele of the public administrator office is, in my opinion, the biggest challenge. Older residents of nursing homes are no longer the exclusive client of the administrator. A significant percentage of client cases now involve dealing with a range of mental illnesses some of which result in behavioral issues. Accompanying those issues are the expectations of both clients and the public with higher levels of service expected on less resources.
Each client represents a unique person and set of circumstances. Working with a range of challenging issues requires the personal experience of the administrator, seeking advice for similar issues from other experienced individuals, and as much education as possible dealing with issues like mental illness. The next administrator has to balance public relations, client service and the business aspect of personal finance in the most efficient method possible.
6. Are you prepared for this to be a 24/7 job? If so, explain how you would approach it. If not, how do you plan to serve effectively?
To answer this question, I have to share a little bit about myself and my thoughts on work ethic. I wouldn't want the youthful appearance of my picture to fool any reader (lol) because I'm kind of an old guy on the tail end of the baby boomer generation.
A significant baby boomer characteristic is our attitude and approach to work. Work is important to us and represents a part of our person and who we are. We live to work and take pride in our work. We want to be a professional at our chosen occupation.
So to answer the above question and acknowledge the administrator job is 24/7, my answer is "What job isn't?". I realize no person can physically work 24/7 but taking pride in your job and being a professional overrides the occasional need to perform outside of office hours. My current and previous employment has demanded several hours per year aside from office hours. The time and responsibility demands of the position are an assumed part of the job.