Treasurer/Tax Collector Candidates Face Off at Judge’s Breakfast – Lake County Record-Bee

CLEARLAKE—This Thursday at the Clearlake Judge’s Breakfast, guest host Alan Flora introduced treasurer/tax collector candidates Patrick Sullivan and Paul Flores in a debate-style forum. The candidates are running in the upcoming June 7 election to replace current Treasurer/Tax Collector Barbara C. Ringen, whose resignation is expected to take effect shortly.

Patrick Sullivan is the current county tax administrator, a position he has held since 2018. Sullivan is a licensed attorney and prior to his position in Lake County, he spent over six years gaining experience in the Mendocino County by working in the tax collectors’ treasurer’s office. During his tenure as tax administrator, Sullivan focused on several financial projects, including sharing “The project that actually resulted in my being hired here was the cannabis tax. This is what we experienced in my former position and it is a program that requires constant attention. It’s an ever-changing regulatory environment, and it represents what could be one of the biggest revenue streams for the county. Sullivan hopes to improve operations by building a strong staff and modernizing online access to data and payment processing options.

Paul Flores had grown up visiting Clearlake often, eventually becoming a resident and serving as Lake County Deputy Chief Treasurer/Tax Collector before having to move to Southern California in 2002. There he worked extensively in accounting and information technology, spending 11 years at Cal State Long Beach built its Treasury Department. Flores detailed his experience saying, “I took them from about $42 million to $100 million in three years. I went from 47% efficiency to 99.7% efficiency for cash flow and cash to invest. Flores says he has a wealth for information technology and would easily convert data sets and streamline software systems, practices he is familiar with as he has created many of the accounting programs used by the current office of the tax collector.

Community members expressed a range of questions and comments, many of which related to leadership style and management experience. Sullivan responded noting, “I like to be engaged with my staff, I like to be active. I already work with a lot of employees in the office but if I could get into this I really want to hear from each person what they are working on, what they think is going well and also what they think is wrong . Flores detailed his approach, saying, “I’m very involved, like Patrick. I believe in policies, processes and procedures, but I also believe in documentation and documentation is usually the weak point. I find that the better the documentation, the better the training mechanisms you need to put in place for trainable, sustainable, accountable, reportable, rebuttable, and transparent operations.

The Judge’s Breakfast Forum is held every Thursday morning at 7 a.m. at the Senior Center in Clearlake. Next week’s guest speaker is Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin, who is running unopposed for election. More information about the Judge’s Breakfast Club can be found on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JudgesBreakfast

Esther L. Steinbach