GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Running for an elected office you would like to see eliminated does not happen often, but that's exactly what is going on in Galveston County.
Hank Dugie, the newly elected Galveston County treasurer, ran on the promise that he would reduce the size of government, starting with his position.
"My campaign centered around the idea that the office is a waste, taxpayers could save money if we abolished it. It's really not a needed position anymore. It doesn't provide any extra level of protection for taxpayers, all it does is cost them dollars," Dugie said.
The office of the county treasurer is typically in charge of duties such as reconciliation of accounts, disbursement of checks, and payroll. So if there's no county treasurer, who will take over those responsibilities?
"We won't have to hire more people. We are actually downsizing, saving taxpayers money, and at the same time, we are streamlining, making our processes safer so that the county taxpayers' dollar will be better kept," Dugie explained.
He says the four employees currently working for his office will eventually be moved to other county offices but will continue carrying out their current responsibilities.
For the position to be eliminated, a constitutional amendment will have to be filed, it will have to pass in the Texas House of Representatives and Senate and then will be on the ballot for Galveston County voters in November of this year.
So how much money is this move expected to save?
"As we consolidate duties and we find more efficiencies, I think we will save about half a million dollars a year," Dugie said.
That's money he believes can be spent better elsewhere, or saved.
"In the long term, $500,000 a year buys new roads, digs ditches, and can be put back to taxpayers in the form of savings, so there's a lot of important things that can be done with the money," Dugie said.
Nine counties in Texas, including Tarrant, Bee, Bexar, Colin, Andrews, El Paso, Gregg, Fayette, and Nueces, did away with the treasurer position years ago. The last time this happened was in 1987.
"Galveston County in the past has had some issues with some of its finances. It's a lot easier for voters to hold commissioners court and the county judge accountable for an appointed auditor than it is to hold an independently elected county treasurer responsible who most people don't know who they are nor what their responsibilities are," explained Mark Jones, professor of political science at Rice University.
On Jan. 3, Dugie filed an affidavit filed with the Galveston County District Clerk's Office, which is necessary to start the process of getting the position eliminated. The affidavit also states he decided to forego his treasurer's salary, which is $117,260.
"I think giving up the salary shows people that this isn't a get-rich scheme. This is an actual policy position that I hold very dearly," Dugie said.