Wharton County Treasurer Donna Thornton announced Monday she will not seek re-election.

Voters first elected Thornton to the chief financial post in 2011, entrusting her with the oversight of Wharton County’s $30-million-plus in funds, employee payroll and accounts receivable.

“It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Wharton County. I appreciate the trust (the citizens) placed in me to oversee the funds you work so hard for,” Thornton said.

Her term expires Dec. 31, 2022.

“Donna Thornton has always been a strong advocate for protecting our County’s financial interests. We greatly appreciate her years of service,” County Judge Phillip Spenrath said Tuesday.

Although confident of her ability to return to the private sector, Thornton said she had no immediate plans for the future.

Citizens, she hoped, would take an active in government.

“I encourage you to become active in monitoring your elected officials’ performance and be willing to serve our communities to make our county a great place to call home,” she said.

A licensed CPA and Certified Investment Officer, she had served five years as Wharton County’s appointed auditor prior to taking office.

“I was frustrated that the auditor could only make suggestions for change in the area of financial management. As the treasurer, I was able to implement changes I knew needed to be made years ago along with many more. County government is a broken system. You have to sometime make lemonade from lemons,” Thornton said.

Upon her election to the treasurer’s post, she worked to implement updates in several financial areas.

“My passion is to evaluate and improve processes ... changes to payroll and human resource have probably had the greatest impact. We transitioned from a semi-monthly advance pay system to a biweekly accrual (pay after you work) system which also resulted in law enforcement’s 28-day schedule fitting into the same calendar of other employees; perfecting time accounting.”

Aside from accounting duties, Thornton served as the county’s first Safety Chair, tasked with developing an emergency plan for personnel along with the placement of security equipment in buildings.

“I am very proud of the changes I have made to the office,” Thornton said, but added, “Equity in pay for job qualifications according to local markets” still needs to be done.

Thornton, a nominee for Texas Treasurer of the Year, is on the Board of Directors of the County Treasurers’ Association of Texas (CTAT) board and is a member of the Texas Association of Counties Unemployment Fund.

The next county treasurer must run for office, with filing set with a party chair now through Dec. 13.

That next person, Thornton said, should have management skills along with accounting ability “in order to lead staff to adapt to changes in laws and accounting practices to achieve efficiency and accuracy in our work while providing good customer service. My staff has helped make me successful in these endeavors.”

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