Keiffer announces candidacy for 4th District council seat

Photo provided.
Kittie Keiffer

Republican Kittie Keiffer has announced her candidacy for the 4th District seat on the Huntington County Council.

Keiffer, who currently serves as the Huntington County Clerk, is a 1970 graduate of Huntington North High School and Bill Miller School of Real Estate in 1989. She established, owned and operated RE/MAX Professional Group from 2001 to 2016.

She is a member of the Association of Clerks of Circuit Courts, the Association of Indiana Counties, National Association of Realtors and Upstate Alliance of Realtors. She served on the Lancaster Township Advisory Board for 10 years.

“I have had the opportunity to serve as your Huntington County Clerk of Courts for the past seven years. This position is limited to two, four-year terms,” Keiffer says. “Even though my tenure will be coming to an end, I find I’m just not ready to hang up my public service hat.

“One of the aspects of clerk is to work closely with County Council in determining and implementing the clerk’s budget. Our government offices are in place to facilitate the needs of the taxpayer and protect their interests. The primary responsibility of County Council is to be a good steward for taxpayer dollars. It just seems natural that County Council would be the perfect fit for that public service hat!”

Keiffer cites her community involvement and serving on a variety of boards and organizations as having taught her to work well with all types of people and personalities to accomplish a common goal.

“Since arriving in the Clerk’s office, I have been forced to search for new and innovative ways to conduct the clerk’s business without diminishing the services offered to our customers,” she says. “Every area of the clerk’s budget, its impact on the bottom line and its effect on services, has been evaluated and adjusted for efficiency.”

Keiffer lists among her accomplishments a new postage policy saving the county close to $34,000 to date.

“While legislation mandates the courts pay for the initial notices, subsequent notices and mailings were being covered with taxpayer dollars. Changing this policy was painful for our staff but the savings from that one policy change will continue year, after year, after year,” she adds.

In 2014, the clerk’s office began to submit old, uncollected traffic tickets to an outside company for collection. To date, the office has collected in excess of $81,000. Keiffer says continued efforts to collect on these old tickets will reap benefits for years to come.

Under Keiffer’s leadership, the clerk’s office received three highly competitive grants over the last five years totaling $27,427 to streamline services and make polling locations more accessible to the physically challenged.

While saving taxpayer dollars has been an important goal, Keiffer says there have been other difficult decisions that have been made in the Clerk’s office. In 2011, while attending an election conference the concept of vote centers was introduced.

“We began planning and developing the idea but soon found this road was going to be extremely difficult. It became a four-year journey involving both political parties, government officials, the Election Board and the voters of Huntington County. Meanwhile, in November of 2014 e-pollbooks were introduced to progress towards preparation for Vote Centers,” she says. “Finally, vote centers became a reality in February of 2015. Huntington County voters seem to truly love the concept and have for the most part been extremely pleased. This endeavor has without a doubt been the most rewarding experience of my career.”

As clerk, Keiffer says she has been a regular fixture at council meetings to become familiar with their procedures and goals. She regularly attended meetings of the Indiana Association of Counties to learn best practices of other counties that could be utilized here.

“I have been a vocal advocate for the employees of Huntington County when raises are considered. I’m a strong believer that if they are valued and treated fairly, they will in return respect their positions and continue to do a great job for Huntington County. I have tweaked my budget each and every year and have continually returned a portion of that budget back to the general fund,” she says. “I bring a unique perspective to council by not only knowing the budgets of most departments, but also by having been on the inside to observe how that money is utilized.”

County Council District 4 consists of Dallas, Rock Creek, Lancaster, Salamonie, Jefferson, Wayne and Polk Townships.
“The constituents in these townships consist of rural, small town and rural subdivision property owners, farming families and small businesses. The voters hiring me for this position can expect honesty, transparency and the highest level of integrity,” Keiffer says. “They can also expect open communication with someone who will listen to their concerns and value their input.”

Keiffer and her husband of 47 years, Richard, are lifetime Huntington Cou-nty residents, and have three children, Heather, Heath and Mason. They also have 11 grandchildren.