County treasurer defeats challenger

Wallace wins GOP primary, alone on Nov. ballot
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Shawano County Treasurer Debra Wallace appeared headed for re-election Tuesday after turning back a challenge from fellow Republican Mary Hagen.

With 100 percent of the votes counted, Wallace defeated Hagen by nearly a 2-to-1 margin in the countywide Republican primary.

Unofficial results showed Wallace with 1,963 votes to Hagen’s total of 1,087 votes.

With no Democrat running in the November election, Wallace is virtually assured of re-election, unless a write-in candidacy or some other surprise occurs.

Wallace, a Bonduel resident, said she was thankful to the voters and she believes Tuesday’s results represent a “total validation” of the job she has been doing the past four years.

Although her opponent had raised job-performance questions, Wallace said she remains certain that county residents support her.

“I’m glad it’s over,” she said. “I’m excited to be able to do this another four years.”

Hagen, who was making her first run at elected office, said she does not think voters got the message about how the county treasurer has been operating.

A longtime employee in the county finance office, Hagen, a Shawano resident, said she intends to challenge Wallace again in four years.

“Not enough people know what’s going on,” she said. “There’s not much I can do about it now.”

The winner of the November election will serve four years in a $56,000-a-year position responsible for overseeing all county property tax collections, processing other payments to the county, issuing employee paychecks and balancing the county’s main bank account.

The position’s salary is scheduled to increase to $61,000 a year by 2020.

Voters elected Wallace in 2012 to succeed Kay Schroeder, who stepped aside after 20 years as county treasurer.

During this year’s campaign, Hagen said Wallace had been improperly withholding information from county finance staffers related to the county’s main bank account.

The county collects about $15 million a year in property taxes, plus another $25 million in other revenues, and processes about $16 million a year in employee paychecks.

Wallace responded that all her financial records are all open to the public, but that county finance staffers must balance their own records in order to maintain integrity and a system of checks and balances in county government.

Wallace served as deputy treasurer under Schroeder before her election in 2012.