Jannette Norris, the treasurer of St. Mary’s County since 1995, announced this week she will not be running for a sixth term in the 2014 election.
“It’s time for me to move on. I’m getting old,” she said at age 66, and would like to spend more time with her grandchildren.
By the time her term is up next year, she will have been the county treasurer for 20 years, the second-longest tenure since the position in its current form was created in 1900.
“It’s been a nice job,” she said. “I’m leaving behind a really professional veteran staff.”
Jack Russell (D), president of the St. Mary’s County commissioners, said, “Jan Norris has really done a commendable job for a long period of time. All I can do is wish her the best of luck.” Russell is trying for a third term next year as president of the board.
Including herself, there are five full-time employees in the county treasurer’s office, but “unfortunately no one in the office is interested in running” for the elected job to head the office, Norris said.
To be successful, “you really need to have a background in administration, finance and accounting. You have to take care of the people’s money. You have to account for it and take care of it,” she said.
The treasurer’s office sends out property tax bills and collects taxes. The county commissioners set the local property tax rates, and the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation sets assessed property values and addresses appeals on those values.
“There’s been a lot of change and growth” in St. Mary’s and in her office’s work, she said. There are many more accounts and about a dozen possible property tax credits that may apply. “There’s a lot of variables in the tax rolls,” she said.
Norris bested Doris Bean in the 1994 Democratic primary and went on to win against Republican Bob Hutchinson. She remained unopposed as treasurer in subsequent elections until 2010 when Daniel H. Raley, who was finishing his third straight term as county commissioner, challenged her in the Democratic primary.
The issue of technology arose, specifically about the lack of voice mail in the treasurer’s office, but Norris won the primary with 72 percent of the votes.
The treasurer’s office still doesn’t have voice mail. “It just doesn’t work for us,” Norris said. “When we’re busy, I don’t know how we’ll have time to check voice mail.”
Raley was told Wednesday that Norris was not pursuing re-election. Asked if he would consider another run at the job next year, he said, “I’m going to enjoy Christmas with my grandchildren and we’ll talk about that later.”
Norris, he said, has “been a very dedicated county servant.”
The deadline for candidates for file for the June 24 primary election next year will be Feb. 25. The treasurer’s salary is $48,000.