As Treasurer for Cleburne County, Pam Gray keeps the numbers in line and helps the county run more smoothly as part of her duties as an elected official. She is our spotlight this week as part of our month long commitment to County Government month in Cleburne County.
Nestled in the the historic Cleburne County Courthouse in Heber Springs, Gray, along with dedicated assistance from Chief Deputy Clerk Felicia Hipp, spends her day making sure all the numbers add up for the county and its financial operations.
Gray was born in Heber Springs but has lived in Greers Ferry her entire life, graduating school from West Side. A few years after graduating, she attended Gateway Vocational-Technical School in Batesville, where she trained in the data processing program. She worked at the hospital for about 6 months, when she learned there was an opening in the County Treasurers office. She applied and was hired there in 1991. Gray was elected as Cleburne County Treasurer and began serving in the office in 2007.
"I guess you could say we're the bookkeeper for the county," said Gray regarding the Treasurer's duties. "We get revenue from probably every department in the county, except for the Assessor, and also money from the state based on our sales tax, highway turn-back funds, county aid, things like that."
The Treasurer's Office prepares the financial statements for Quorum Court each month, detailing exactly how much money the county has available at that time and how much they may have available in the future based on the most recent figures available.
"I've been very fortunate to work with some really good people," said Gray. "It's a team effort. If it's not, it doesn't work right. Our office doesn't much deal with the public. In a way a kind of miss that from work that I've done before. Since I took over in 2007, Felicia's been with me the entire time. If you don't have somebody competent and reliable with you, then you'll have real problems."
Gray said understanding numbers is key to successfully performing the duties of her office.
"I'm a numbers person," she said. "Numbers either add up or they don't. You either balance or you don't."
Gray said one of the most difficult aspects of her job is navigating through constantly changing legislation and applying that to how she maintains the county's financial balance.
"Every time the legislature meets, they change things a little bit," she said. "Sometimes its hard to keep up with that. Sometimes not everybody interprets laws the same way, which can make it confusing."
"I've become friends with the people I work with on the Quorum Court and throughout the county," she continued. "It's been a great place to work. I just couldn't ask for anything better."