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Details not provided, but longtime treasurer resigns and the county looks to bring on a CFO with accounting degree

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kathy Gray 
Crook County Treasurer Kathy Gray announced her resignation this past week, and local leaders have launched plans to not only find her replacement but restructure the finance office.

Gray began working at the Treasurer's Office in 1976, and with the exception of a five-year departure from the job to raise her children from 1978 to 1983, she has worked there ever since. She took over as treasurer in 2001 and held the job until her recent departure.

"I just want to thank the citizens of the county for their support of me over the years," she said. "I really appreciate it, and I'm sorry I wasn't able to finish out my term, which had been my plan. It just turned out that way."

Gray did not give any specific reasons for her resignation, saying only that it was time to move on.

The Crook County Court publicly thanked Gray for "her more than three decades of unwavering service to the residents of Crook County."

"While Kathy will be greatly missed, we understand that change is inevitable," Crook County Judge Seth Crawford said on behalf of the court. "We appreciate her diligence and dedication and wish her well in this next chapter of her life."

As Gray departs, county leaders are planning to restructure the finance office. Crawford explained that currently, the treasurer, the tax collector, the budget officer and the head of the finance department are all blocked into the one treasurer position.

"What we are looking to do is split off from the treasurer the tax collection and the budget officer as well as the head of the finance department," Crawford said

Those other duties will instead fall to a new chief finance officer position. County leaders have already begun efforts to fill the position, including launch of a national recruiting process.

"We are currently interviewing," Crawford said. "It is something we would like to get done as soon as possible."

County officials will be looking for somebody who not only has a degree in accounting, Crawford said, but also somebody who has the ability to analyze data at the county to help them with long-term budgeting.

The treasurer position, by contrast, will take longer to fill. According to County Clerk Cheryl Seely, because Gray's resignation comes more than 61 days before the general election, the position will appear on the November ballot. Filing for the position, a four-year term, opened Thursday and will remain open until Aug. 28. Crawford said whoever is hired as CFO is welcome to run for the treasurer position if they want to.

Between now and when a CFO and treasurer join the finance office, the department will be run on an interim basis by Kathy Puckett, who has up to this point been chief deputy treasurer.

"We are looking at hiring some outside help," Crawford added, "to make sure everything is on track."

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