County treasurer, register of deeds candidates air their views
Incumbents Deb Carney and Deb Brandt are being challenged by Beth Ford and Mindy Hemmersbach in the Aug. 11 primary election for Monroe County Treasurer and Monroe County Register of Deeds respectively.
The Monroe County Herald is providing profiles of the candidates leading up to the election.
Monroe County Register of Deeds
Deb and husband Dale Brandt have been married for 36 years and have two adult sons and one grandson. Her parents are Anita (Schanhofer) and the late Sherwin Giraud. Brandt is a life-long resident of Monroe County having been born and raised on a dairy farm in the Town of Sparta just south of Rolling Hills. She currently resides in the Town of Little Falls on the Brandt Farm, 148 acres of tranquility, she adds.
The farm just recently received our prestigious historical Century Family Farm award.
"I have a very strong work ethic and I am fully dedicated and committed to my profession," Brandt said.
Outside of work, her hobbies and interests include photography, sports, riding motorcycle with friends, working out at the gym and spending time with family.
She is a past member of Sparta Butterfest, having served on the Board of Directors. She is a member of the Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association and serves as president-appointed Historian for the Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association (WRDA). Brandt is a committee member of the WRDA Help Desk assisting all 72 county Register of Deeds’ Offices statewide. She is a committee member of the Monroe County Land Information Council. Brandt is also Wisconsin Constitutional Officer.
Brandt's predecessor was John Burke, who served as Register of Deeds for 13 ½ years before he retired. She was elected 2012, one of four candidates at the time.
Her experience is extensive with more than 33 years working with real estate records, Wisconsin statutes and the public. She earned an Associate’s Degree from WTC in the legal secretarial program. For 16 years she was a legal assistant for Ralph Osborne and the firm of Osborne & Goodman.
Then she worked 10 years a licensed title examiner at Monroe County Title, working for Paul and Nancy Oswald.
Working with the public is a key reason Brandt enjoys the job.
"I work with funeral directors, attorneys, title companies, lenders, realtors, my county board supervisors and other governmental agencies on an everyday basis," Brandt said. "My top priority is serving residence of Monroe County to the best of my ability. I look forward to the opportunity to continue serving in this vital role."
Much like everything else, COVID-19 played a role in daily Register of Deeds access.
The County Administrator closed the building for more than two months. During that time, Register of Deeds remained functional, completing required statutory duties. The office was staffed Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., however essential staff members were split up. An upgrade to the recording system in December of 2018 enabled essential staff members to work remotely with our recording process without disruption.
"Babies were born, couples entered into marriage and unfortunately some of our loved ones passed on. We made sure we fulfilled requests for copies of vital records," Brandt said.
Brandt implemented a system called Official Records Online so the public could electronically request copies of vital records and pay by debit card and/or credit card.
Brandt updated the department’s web page in an effort to keep the public informed of recent changes.
"I have worked tirelessly to build our office to be the most efficient, user-friendly, self-supporting Register of Deeds office in the state. To that end, I have spent countless hours researching, and subsequently implementing some of the most cutting-edge technology available," Brandt said.
Ford was born and raised in Sparta. Her parents are Mike and Cindy Hemmersbach. Hemmersbach graduated from Sparta High School in 2004. She enrolled at Western Technical College and earned an Associate Degree in finance.
Hemmersbach and her husband, Bill, and live in the Town of Sparta with their daughter. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with family, enjoying the outdoors and watching their daughter grow.
For the last 10 years she has volunteered at the St. Pat’s Summerfest in Sparta performing various duties. She has volunteered for both Sparta Butterfest and Sparta Area Cancer Support.
Ford was Deputy Register of Deeds, a position she held almost five years. Currently she works in the Finance/Human Services Dept as Assistant Finance Manager and Business Administrator.
Her professional background mainly consists of working for a few local financial institutions and Monroe County.
"Throughout my career, I have worked in some form of customer service whether the front line or behind the scenes. I strive to keep a positive workplace for my staff, co-workers, and customers," Ford said.
Strengths she cites as a candidate for Register:
• A leader with a successful track record as a manager.
• Experience and knowledge of all functions within the office.
• Provide exceptional, friendly customer service.
As Deputy Register of Deeds Hemmersbach had an essential role in the following items:
• Recording of daily documents.
• Approving and issuing vital records.
• Indexed recorded documents that were scanned into the system, so they could be searched online.
• Prepared real estate book volumes for scanning and indexing, so they could be searched online.
• Assisted with genealogy and real estate record searches
Ford resigned as deputy Register of Deeds.
"I enjoyed working in the Register of Deeds office," Ford said. "The main reason I resigned was due to the change in charging to search for online records. The searching of online records is public information and in my opinion, should remain accessible without fees. Fees should only be placed on document copies. My top priority would be researching the software used for potential options to make public record searching more available again without impacting costs to the taxpayers or budget. A change is needed in the office. Bringing forth my positivity, new ideas, people skills and community involvement that will lead the office into a new direction of amazing customer service."
Monroe County Treasurer
Carney grew up in Monroe County and lives in Tomah with her husband of 33 years, Bill. She attended elementary school in Sparta before her parents moved to Tomah. She is a graduate of Tomah High School.
After high school Carney attended Western Technical College and earned a degree in accounting. Carney and her husband have a daughter Cassie, a student at UW-Eau Claire pursuing a degree in social work.
In my free time she enjoys fishing, reading and rooting for Wisconsin sports teams (Packers, Badgers and Brewers), as well as spending time with my family and friends.
Carney has worked for Monroe County 34 years in various roles. She is endorsed by retired County treasurer Annette Erickson.
"I am the only person to have ever held all three positions in the County treasurer’s office (treasurer, deputy treasurer and treasurer clerk)," Carney said.
Carney feels she is well skilled in expectations of the treasurer with a wide array of duties which include collecting and recording real estate taxes, all county funds from all departments are deposited in the treasurer’s office, scanning old tax rolls for safe keeping and future use, investing funds at the highest available returns according to federal, state and county laws while keeping those funds safely insured, assisting the public with land descriptions, valuations, ownership, addresses, mapping, and tax status questions and much more.
Carney has calculated and printed tax bills and handles lottery credit certification county wide.
"There are many more responsibilities/job duties of the county treasurer and I am the only candidate that has done every one of them," Carney said. "I believe in innovation and better ways to do the job, if they are not costly to the taxpayers."
She is a member of the Wisconsin Treasurer’s Association, Wisconsin County Constitutional Officers and serves on the Monroe County Land Information Council.
Carney is also administrator for Monroe County for the US Governments System for Award Management that works with grants, flood disaster money and other related funding mechanisms which helps to keep the county levy low.
Like her fellow incumbent Brandt, Carney points to COVID-19 as an obstacle for working with colleagues and the public.
"I have worked with the Wisconsin County Treasurer’s Association and the Wisconsin Counties Association regarding resources and funding as well as supervising office operations and personnel to make the treasurer’s office the safest it can be," Carney said. "I have had our counter fully encased in plexiglass, every pen used is sterilized and our counter is cleaned with disinfecting wipes to protect the public."
Carney points to experience and commitment to the office when voters cast their vote.
"I hope the residents of Monroe County vote for me because I am the most experienced and best qualified candidate," Carney said. "I have dedicated my career working for the taxpayers of Monroe County. I feel, a treasurer, the constituents of Monroe County deserve my full attention to this job. I take that responsibility very seriously and spend many nights and weekends working. My favorite part of the job is working with the public. I have been blessed to get to know the many wonderful residents of Monroe County and it so interesting getting to know their stories."
Mindy Hemmersbach was born and raised in Sparta where she lives with husband Tony and their two children, Lorelai and Blake. She graduated from Sparta High School in 2004.
Hemmersbach is currently a co-leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout troop which she feels has strengthened her servant leadership skills. For more than five years she has volunteered for the Sparta Area Cancer Society’s Poker Run and Cancer Walk.
Her parents are the late Mike Stahl and Cheryl (Chris) Rentz. While in college Hemmersbach worked at 1st Community Credit Union for two years.
Hemmersbach started at State Bank Financial in 2007 as a teller. After nine years at State Bank Financial she became the assistant branch manager.
"Because banking is most of my work experience it has taught me so much about not only money, interest rates, managing money and loans, but customer service, community involvement and learning to work with different types of personalities," Hemmersbach said. "I have learned so much from the many different managers within the bank which has helped prepare me for being a manager.
She has worked at the Monroe County treasurer’s office for 3 and 1/2 years. In that time, Hemmersbach created instructional manuals to make sure procedures are followed and reorganized/ restructured the backroom for better workflow. Hemmersbach served as the treasurer’s clerk is presently deputy treasurer.
"I have enjoyed working with Monroe County citizens and municipal treasurers and clerks," Hemmersbach said. I believe my experience and work ethic make me a great candidate. I was motivated to pursue the position of treasurer because in the 3 ½ years I have worked in the office and the two positions held, I am up for a big challenge. I am looking for the work load that comes with the position. I believe I would bring excellent customer service, new ideas and efficiency to the office."