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AAC F A M I L Y & F R I E N D S AUDITOR Continued From Page 30 <<<


Te state auditor’s office provides con- tinuing education for several county elect- ed official groups. It also reimburses those county elected officials for expenses relat- ed to their continuing education efforts. Lea said that during her campaign she visited courthouses around the state, gathering ideas and input for ways to improve county outreach. Many complained that they weren’t being reimbursed quick- ly enough. Once elected, Lea set about improving the process. “Tey gave me some suggestions on streamlining, and I took those suggestions and im- plemented them. Several of the [county] clerks, especially, and the treasurers and collectors have contacted me and said, ‘Wow you took those to heart, and we’re seeing a difference.’ Tat made me hap- py,” Lea said.


Assembly. A list of Arkansans with unclaimed property must be posted at every courthouse in the state.


L


Lea also made it a priority to return unclaimed property to counties. She had her staff go through the unclaimed property records and identify the coun- ties that had unclaimed property owed to them. Te search revealed that 63 of


“All they had to do was sign it and mail it back. It’s just another way I am trying to connect,” Lea said, noting that 40 of the counties she contacted have returned their forms and received payment. Lea will be contacting county judges


soon regarding Act 592, which came out of the 90th Arkansas General Assembly. Te measure no longer requires the audi- tor’s office to publish in newspapers the names of people with unclaimed prop- erty — a list that took up pages of ad-


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Arkansas’ 75 counties had unclaimed property on the books. Lea said she realized county offi- cials are busy and don’t have the time to search records on the state Auditor’s web site. So her staff filled out claim forms for the 63 counties, and mailed them out for signatures.


ea will be contacting county judges soon regard- ing Act 592, which came out of the 90th General


vertising. Rather, the auditor will now publish a notice in newspapers directing people to the Great Treasure Hunt web site. However, a list of people with un- claimed property also must be posted at every county courthouse in the state. “I need to visit with judges about the easiest way for me to get the information to them. Do they want it on a USB [drive] that they can upload to their web site ... Do they want a hard copy,” Lea said. “And, of course, I want to make it easier for people who aren’t as computer savvy. Plenty of people go to the courthouse to look through the


properties that are being turned over.” And Lea said she has a great apprecia- tion for courthouse culture. “Te courthouse culture is just fun,” she said. “It really is the hub of politics in a county. And not just politics but a lot of community stuff. Tink about all the reasons people go to the courthouse — to get their marriage licenses, to get any other document … I mean, it really is a fun hub.”


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COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2015


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