Election Connection: Camden County Treasurer

Left to right: Kendra Willis Hicks and Michael Carter.

The following Q&A candidates are running for the position of Treasurer in Camden County. They will be on the August 4 ballot.

Kendra Willis Hicks

I am a graduate of Macks Creek High School and Vatterott College and live in Macks Creek with my husband Quentin and daughter Kaylee. I have worked in the County Treasurer’s Office for the last 14 years and have served as the Chief Deputy Treasurer for the past 10 years, where I have been sworn in, under oath, to uphold the Constitution and Missouri state statutes and act on behalf of the County Treasurer in her absence. This is an extremely important position I have the honor of serving and I don’t take my duties lightly.

I was raised and brought up to give 110% at whatever I am doing and have always been a hard, dedicated, honest, efficient worker. I have over 27 years of experience in bookkeeping, payroll, handling money, serving Camden County and management experience.

1.  What is the motivation to serve as Camden County Treasurer? 

I have been asked over the years if I would ever seek election to become County Treasurer.  My answer has always been NO.  But, when Elaine Gilley made up her mind to retire, I felt like it WAS the right thing to do after all.  I prayed about it and everything has just fallen into place, felt right and I’ve had peace about making my decision to run for office ever since.  I want to make sure the taxpayers know that I am NOT a politician….I am a bookkeeper! 

People have told me that I am a politician since I am running for office, which I guess is true to some extent, but the County Treasurer isn’t a political office; we keep the taxpayers money safeguarded, receipt in money, keep track of expenses (such as supplies, bills, equipment, uniforms, etc.), manage the County’s CD’s, work with the Payroll Department to pay employees, taxes, garnishments, and retirement, work closely with our County Auditor’s office to ensure checks and balances are in place, have a required financial audit each year by an independent CPA firm, and balance the bank statements of the county’s operating bank accounts.

Each month, our office sends out tax payments to all of the Fire Departments, Ambulance Districts, Road Districts, Sheltered Workshop, and Senior Citizens Board. I would love to have the opportunity to continue seeing our office function well and protect the county taxpayer money.

2. What experience and/or training qualifies you for the position of Camden County Treasurer? 

Not only have I worked in the County Treasurer’s office for the past 14 years, but I have over 27 years of experience overall in bookkeeping, handling money, working with payroll, serving Camden County and several years of management experience.

Throughout my 27 years bookkeeping experience, any employer that I’ve worked for, I’ve always started out at an entry level position.  Over time, hard work, and dedication I have learned, hands on, about the job.  The same applies for working in the County Treasurer’s Office for 14 years.  I have learned the job, in detail, from the bottom up and I feel that’s what sets me apart from my opponent. I feel that if you start at an entry level position, get to know and perform the functions and duties, then you know what a job entails and will be a successful leader.

Since I have worked in the office and know the daily work and required duties, I feel that I would be the best candidate for this office.  I would know what work needed to be done, how to oversee that my staff is doing their job and be able to train my staff.  I always have and will continue to be a FULL TIME servant of the county, continue transparency in our office and I know the state statutes that are set up for the County Treasurer’s Office.

3. What is the biggest issue facing county revenues, and how would you advocate as Camden County Treasurer to resolve it? 

The biggest issue facing county revenues this year, would be the unknown of the economy.  Sales taxes, personal property tax, and real estate tax is the revenue the county operates off of.  

With Covid-19 there was a large unknown, everywhere, what was going to happen with our economy.  Thankfully in Camden County our sales taxes have been stable and even seen a small increase. We are all hopeful this trend continues

4. If you are elected, how would the Treasurer’s office operate differently than it does now?

If I were elected as County Treasurer, I would be more assertive about meeting with the Commission and Auditor about the taxpayer’s money. I feel the County Treasurer is left out of a lot of discussions and left in the dark about future plans, goals, etc.  A County Treasurer is not the one making any decisions about spending, but I feel that it would be really beneficial to be included just to get a better grasp on what the goal of the county is and what any future plans may be.

I will continue to strive to keep good working relationships with all of the county offices we work with and try to encourage others the importance of communication and teamwork.  We all play a part in county government, and it takes all of us to get something accomplished.

5. Do you believe the treasurer's office has adequate resources, including staff, to perform the responsibilities assigned to the office under Missouri law? If not, what would you like to see changed, if elected? 

There are three people that work in the Treasurer’s Office and that includes the elected official.  These are all FULL TIME positions. I do feel that we do have adequate staff, but I am a firm believer in cross training. If one person is sick or on vacation, the others have to step up and keep getting the job done. We are a team and work really well together.

Last fall the county purchased a new financial software system to replace our very old outdated system that was in place.  We did have some one on one training, but we have had several issues and really need to have more training and questions answered.  We have been trying to get the answers we need and more training for our office.

Closing statement 

If I were elected, I feel that it would be such a smooth transition since I have worked in that office for 14 years and know the duties set before me under Missouri state statutes. I’m a honest, hard working person who loves her job and wants to continue seeing the County Treasurer’s Office thrive and keep getting good audits on an annual basis. I have always had a passion for bookkeeping and working with numbers.

I have over 27 years experience in bookkeeping and have management experience also which is needful since the Treasurer is responsible for so much money and I would know how to manage my staff and oversee what they are working on. 

I humbly ask for your vote on August 4th. Please remember to vote for experience!

Michael Carter

My name is Michael Carter. I am married to Amy Franklin Carter who is a first-grade teacher at Dogwood Elementary where she has taught for 19 years. Amy and I have three children and a son-in-law:  Seth Barclay and Alison Barclay, Abigail Carter and Anderson Carter. Alison and Seth have two children: Laiken and Britten (born in February, 2020).  Laiken and Britten are our first two grandchildren and our family is very excited with the addition of our grandchildren to the family.

I began my legal career with the Law Firm of Phillips, McElyea, Carpenter & Welch in 1999. While with that firm, I was engaged in the general practice of law and did work in various legal areas. Since leaving Phillips, McElyea, Carpenter and Welch, I have been focused on representing children and children who have been the victims of abuse or neglect. That has been my focus for the last ten years. 

I am very excited to have the opportunity to run for Treasurer of Camden County. I hope that you, the citizens of Camden County, will vote for me and my legal experience to bring a change and balance to the Treasurer’s Office.

1.  What is it that motivates you to serve as Camden County Treasurer? 

I have always been interested in running for public office.  I am very interested in politics and believe that I have a strong grasp on what is needed from politicians today. The opportunity to run for Camden County Treasurer presented itself this year when Elaine Gilley opted not to seek another term. I want to be Camden County Treasurer as I want to be involved in local level politics.  That is my motivation for running and why I am here now asking for your vote.

2. What experience and/or training qualifies you for the position of Camden County Treasurer? 

I have been a practicing attorney for 20 years in Camden County.  It is the knowledge and experience I have obtained as an attorney during my career that I believe qualifies me to be the Camden County Treasurer. I have operated my own law office for the last 13 years. During that time, I have been responsible for all the bookkeeping regarding my law office. I have been responsible for not only the income and expenses associated with the operation of my own business but I have also been responsible for holding and safeguarding the money and property of my clients to which I am bound by strict rules by the Missouri Bar Association. 

The Camden County Treasurer derives his/her responsibilities from the Statutes of the State of Missouri (Chapter 54 to be exact). With my knowledge and background in the law; I know the importance of adhering strictly to the requirements of the law. It is important that the Camden County Treasurer follows the Statutes of the State of Missouri. I am uniquely qualified to make sure that this occurs.

3. What is the biggest issue facing county revenues, and how would you advocate as Camden County Treasurer to resolve it? 

Although, this question is outside the scope of the treasurer’s duties, I do believe that the biggest issue facing most counties as it relates to revenues; is how to spend money more efficiently.  The problem with government in general is that it often has the mindset that there is this never-ending supply of it (money).  We need to get away from that way of thinking. We need to be more fiscally responsible.  We need common sense in the way government spends money.  Government simply cannot continue to spend more money than it collects …Period. If I have an idea to spend (or not spend) money more efficiently, it is my responsibility to bring it to the Camden County Commission’s attention. It is the commission who spends the money of the citizens, visitors and property owners of Camden County and it is they whom ideas to spend more efficiently should be addressed.

4. If you are elected, how would the Treasurer’s office operate differently than it does now? 

I believe that there are two main issues that need to be addressed in the Treasurer’s office, although the second issue is more of a county wide problem that needs attention from all county offices.  The two issues that I believe need to be addressed immediately, are: 1. The need to ensure that the computer program or programs utilized by the Camden County Treasurer’s office to “balance the books” correlate with the actual bank account statements or other financial records of the various Camden County bank accounts; and 2. The need to protect the Camden County Treasurer’s records and books through proper cybersecurity.

With regards to the first issue, the need for a proper accounting program, I would like to meet with the County Auditor and the County Commissioners to obtain their insight as to an effective accounting program. It is my understanding that there are or have been some issues regarding the current accounting program and its feasibility moving forward.  I think finding and implementing the use of an effective accounting program or being adequately trained in the current program is absolutely necessary moving forward. 

The second issue, implementation of proper cybersecurity, is not something that I can accomplish without the assistance from all County Officials. Cybersecurity continues to be a growing concern in all of our lives. I think the recent cyber-attack on Camden County is proof of that.  We need to ensure that county records are protected from all such attacks. 

5. Do you believe the treasurer's office has adequate resources, including staff, to perform the responsibilities assigned to the office under Missouri law? If not, what would you like to see changed, if elected? 

I do believe that the treasurer’s office has adequate staff to perform the responsibilities assigned to it under Missouri Law.  With regards to the resources part of the question, I believe some changes may be necessary.  I have addressed the necessary changes I feel are required in the treasurer’s office in my response to question number 4.  The need for a proper accounting program or more training in that program and the need for proper cybersecurity need to be addressed in order to perform the responsibilities assigned to the treasurer’s office by Missouri law. These two changes would be my focus if elected.


I have been asked during this campaign what separates me from my opponent, Kendra Hicks? I will be honest; this is a difficult question to answer. Kendra has some very admirable qualities. She is a hard worker and she has experience. You will hear, if you have not already; that she has 14 years of experience in the Camden County Treasurer’s office and 27 years of bookkeeping experience overall.  These are true statements. Kendra does have experience; and experience is important in any job. However, I want you to know that I likewise have experience as I have attempted to point out answering the questions presented in this article. It is a different kind of experience, but experience that I would argue is equally if not more important to the Camden County Treasurer’s Office. My legal experience is what separates me from Kendra. She is asking you to “Vote For Experience”.  I echo that request; but I am asking that you consider a different experience in your decision on whom you desire to hold that office. It is my legal experience that I am asking you to consider in your vote for Camden County Treasurer.