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Meet the Candidates: Teri Weingarden

During the countdown to the Aug. 7 primary, Patch is bringing you profiles of the candidates running for office in West Bloomfield.

Teri Weingarden

Education

  • Wayne State University, Master’s of Industrial Relations; Magna Cum Laude. (1995)
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, dual bachelor degrees: Organizational Psychology and International Relations; Cum laude. (1991)
  • Michigan Certified Public Treasurer, MiCPT (2011)
  • Association of Public Treasurers Certified Cash Handler (2010)

Professional background

Teri Weingarden currently serves the residents of West Bloomfield as their full time Treasurer, a and a voting member of the Pension board.

As a former Finance Executive at UNISYS and Management Consultant at Andersen Consulting (Accenture) I have brought my skills and experience to the treasurer’s department. I have reorganized and improved processes in my organization providing significant cost savings to the township.

Residence

Teri was raised in West Bloomfield Township attending , and .

Family

Teri is married to Howard with two school aged children and an exchange student all attending public school in the .

Activities or key endorsements you'd like to mention?

  • West Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
  • Chaldean Chamber of Commerce Member
  • West Bloomfield Democratic Club Executive Board
  • Sisterhood Membership Chair
  • 2011 and 2012 Relay for Life Team Lead for Township Trekkers team and 2013 Relay for Life Activity Chair
  • Cumberland Common Subdivision President
  • AFL-CIO endorsement

Why are you running for treasurer?

As the current West Bloomfield treasurer, I have the demonstrated the skills and core competencies necessary to be your treasurer for four more years. I strive to continually educate myself in all areas of the treasurer’s office and pension board.

In 2011, I achieved the Certified Public Treasurer’s designation. I will be seeking an additional designation in July of 2012 and endeavor every day to improve myself and my department. I been invited to train other treasurers at their basic treasurer’s institute and am considered a leader among my colleagues.

I hope to provide humble customer service to the residents of West Bloomfield for four more years.

Do you have new ideas you’d like to suggest for the position or township?

  • Improve access to township resources and payment options: Spearhead township website improvements and transparency to guarantee access to payment options, editable forms, and property information. Provide accessibility to over-the-counter, online and phone payments for tax, water, permit and dog license payments. I have initiated an open request for proposal to select a vendor for over the counter payments at town hall.
  • Bank consolidation: Transferred our Payroll services to bank in July. This change will significantly reduce bank fees by eliminating redundancies and simplifying processes. Upon taking office I re-negotiated our bank discount rate to the highest level offered by Comerica. I continue to discover additional ways to further increase this discount. Due to my negotiation, the township will receive an additional 10 percent discount on all bank fees after making this move.
  • Purchase cards: Initiating a purchasing card in the Township. The new pCard will improve processes, record keeping and provide a revenue stream on all dollars spent through the new pCard system. My negotiation included high rebates on qualified spend, and absolutely no costs or fees regardless of minimum spend. Not only will this generate additional revenue for the Township and save operational costs, Comerica will offer an additional 10 percent off total bank fees once this has been instituted.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing the township? How would you handle them?

  • Safety of township funds: I will continue to invest township money in secure investment vehicles offering FDIC insurance to preserve capital and prevent loss.  I will fight to gain majority board approval to update our investment policy. These updates will provide an opportunity to invest in government insured securities while still achieving higher yields by investing further out on the yield curve.
  • Increasing property values and maintaining neighborhoods: I will continue to implement and enforce ordinances to maintain neighborhood values. I have hosted educational forums to provide information on short sales and other loan modification options to avoid foreclosures. I plan on continuing these workshops to educate residents on options other than foreclosure to help keep our families in their homes.
  • Downtown development: I will continue to encourage businesses to redevelop in our business corridor thus generating more jobs and a robust downtown area. The repaving of Orchard Lake road was the first step towards enhancing our downtown area. I actively support a boulevard on Orchard Lake road utilizing federal funds and tri-party funding.

What do you think are the key responsibilities of the treasurer's office? How would you fulfill them?

First and foremost, as treasurer, I am responsible for the collection of taxes both real and personal property. Approximately 27,000 tax bills are mailed each tax season. I collect and disburse property taxes for the State of Michigan, Oakland Community College, seven local school districts, one transfer district, Oakland Schools, Oakland County, Township general fund, police, fire, library, parks and recreation, bonds, millages, and special assessment districts.

Upon taking office I reviewed the entire tax bill process. I redesigned the tax bills realizing significant cost savings on both the bills and mailing costs. I reviewed the tax set up and billing processes and revamped this process.

A member of the IT staff had historically been assigned to the Treasurer’s department during tax season; I decided to bring all technical aspects of tax collection in house utilizing my current staffing levels. This freed up an IT person to serve all members of the township staff. The tax process improved so dramatically that tax settlement usually in July was completed in March this year. This means that Oakland County settled with the township months sooner than before and we therefore received our tax money to invest much faster.

As the West Bloomfield treasurer I must follow PA20 of 1943. This Public Act outlines all allowable and illegal investment with an emphasis on prudence, safety and liquidity. Using these guidelines, I invest all surplus funds for the township, public safety and parks and recreation. While keeping valuable township funds safe, I have realized 400 percent the benchmark rate of return.

I currently serve as a voting member on the township pension board. In this role, The Supervisor and I represent the township on the management of the pension system. Pension funds have a wider scope of investment types than allowed with the township funds.

I am also involved in bond issuance, letters of credit, special assessment bills and collection and variety of additional financial services for the township businesses and residents.

As treasurer, I serve as one of three full time elected officials on a seven member township board. All members of the township board have an equal vote.

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Who else is running? Meet the candidates for the West Bloomfield Township Board Patch has interviewed so far:

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