By: State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt
Much time has passed since last December when I announced I would not be seeking a fifth term as State Treasurer. Throw in a pandemic and our agency motto holds just as true today as it did in 2004 when I first took office. “The Treasurer’s Office has always dealt with dollars; now, we were working on change.”
This pandemic has been both a blessing and a curse as I prepare to vacate the office. Taken was the opportunity to say goodbye to my colleagues in state and across the country, with whom I worked these last 16 years. However, this pandemic has allowed me time to reminisce and, the separation with my team has been more gradual due to our working from home policies. I think I will miss them the most.
As I look back, my background had prepared me for the position, but nothing prepared me for the antiquated office I inherited. COBOL, a computer language written in 1968, printers using green bar paper and ribbons no longer available, except for a backup supply in the storage room: audit findings of historic proportions. Notecards manually processed, used to notify counties and cities we were sending funds. Add the implementation of PeopleSoft, the new state accounting system, and the fact that our state checkbook was not reconciled to that system in months. There was no accountant on staff, and a tremendous need for policies and procedures.
Today, due to many’s hardwork and dedication, we are a paperless, seamless, defect-free government agency. We have a highly skilled team dedicated to transparency and accountability. The people of North Dakota and I have been blessed to have so many talented and good people in the Office of State Treasurer. They, too, are public servants. Thank you!
To my fellow elected officials. May you never forget the positions we are elected are that of the people; we warm the seat for a short time. Thank you!
It takes great personal strength for a woman to succeed in politics. A woman must balance family responsibilities, internal doubts, and challenges to authority. I am thankful to God and the citizens of North Dakota for the privilege and honor you have given me to serve as your State Treasurer. Thank you!
To my husband, Chuck, my greatest blessing and my “biased” critic, I could not have done this without you at my side. Thank you for sharing this journey! To our children and grandchildren, thank you for keeping me grounded and forever reminding me of what is truly important.