Jan 10, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff WriterIn new-year business, the Fremont County Commission examined using credit unions as official depositories and gained a new vice chairwoman during its meeting Jan. 7.
Every year, commissioners have to designate official depositories, the banks county entities can use to deposit money and open checking accounts.
County Treasurer Scott Harnsberger said state law prohibits the county from using credit unions as official depositories, though he was not opposed to doing so.
Commissioner Keja Whiteman said it was a "shame" the Atlantic City Federal Credit Union could not be an official depository because it donates to the county fair.
The county board discussed raising the credit union issue with the Wyoming Association of County Commissioners, which lobbies the state government.
Harnsberger also told the county commission that his office had run into a problem with one official depository.
The First Interstate Bank charged the county a $10 fee to cash a check that came from an individual who also had an account at First Interstate Bank and was paying the county for a service.
"When someone pays us $100 for a transaction, that 's what the transaction costs, not $90, and I have no way to pay for that difference of $10," he said in an interview.
The commission voted to approve First Interstate Bank and a list of other institutions as official depositories and said it would send a letter to First Interstate Bank warning it may lose its official depository status if the fee policy does not change.
At the same meeting, Whiteman became the county board's new vice chairwoman for 2014.
After other commissioners unanimously approved Doug Thompson for another year as commission chairman, he called for nominations for vice chairman. Republican Larry Allen crossed party lines to nominate Whiteman, a Democrat.
"Keja (Whiteman) has been there for almost eight years, and I just thought a little recognition on her part (would be good)," Allen said in an interview. "Travis (Becker) did a good job, no big shakeup or anything, no hard feelings."
Becker was the vice chairman in 2013. Whiteman has been a commissioner for seven years.
No other nominations were heard, and Becker, R-Riverton, then moved to appoint Whiteman as vice chairwoman, and the motion passed.
Last year, Becker and Whiteman were nominated to be vice chairperson, and Becker won the office on a ballot vote.
Commissioners also selected The Ranger and the Lander Journal as the official newspapers for the county.
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