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20 years of serving the county

Staff Writer | January 28, 2021 1:00 AM

After 20 years of serving the county, Chief Deputy Treasurer Laurie Thomas has retired from the Kootenai County department.

Before her appointment to the position in January 2001 by former county treasurer Tom Malzahn, Thomas served as Regional Director for then U.S. Sen. Larry Craig.

She also spent time as a board member and past president for both the North Idaho College Alumni Association, CASA, Coeur d’Alene Rotary, and over a decade as the International President of the Tax User’s Group (TUG).

“My fondest memories are those with my team and when we have been able to make a positive difference in a taxpayer’s situation,” Thomas said. “We work hard when we deal with our customers, and my position allowed me to help facilitate those options. I have also been able to work with county treasurers across the state and country, and those relationships have become part of my extended family.”

In her career, Thomas also received the Excellence in Office Leadership Award in 2018 from Thomson Reuters and was recognized by the Soroptimist Women’s Forum for Public Service.

A Kootenai County native, Thomas said she plans on staying in the area near her family and friends that have supported her along the way.

“It is so hard to believe it has been 20 years. Twenty years seems like such a long time when you can easily remember the first day,” she said. “I would like to thank the taxpayers. They have given me opportunities to share knowledge about county government, the tax system and learn from them how we can do things better.”

Mary Bidwell, a current county employee, has been chosen as the interim chief deputy treasurer following Thomas’s last day on Jan. 20.

“Laurie is a uniquely talented woman who will be nearly impossible to replace,” Treasurer Steve Matheson said. “Personally, I have relied upon her endless knowledge of Idaho statutes, tireless work ethic, and her uncanny political intuitions in tackling some extremely thorny issues.”

The chief deputy position was posted on the county’s website earlier this month, Matheson said. The human resources department is pursuing multiple recruitment avenues to help Matheson connect with qualified local and regional candidates.

Info: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/kcgov