This election will be a case of deja vu for Buchanan County voters when considering the options for public administrator.
Incumbent Megan Kennedy-Stickley, a Democrat, and Republican Annette Bertelsen, a quality data integrity analyst for Mosaic Life Care, will face each other like they did in 2016, when Kennedy-Stickley achieved 55% of the vote.
The public administrator handles financial issues for individuals who cannot do so themselves, acting as a court-appointed guardian.
Kennedy-Stickley is running for reelection to continue caring for her clients and their futures. Bertelsen said she is running to serve the most vulnerable population in Buchanan County.
Kennedy-Stickley has worked in the public administrator’s office since 2006, working her way up from intern to chief deputy before she was elected to the office in 2016.
She believes her experience makes her the right choice for voters.
“I think that is probably the biggest difference and probably the biggest advantage that I would have,” Kennedy-Stickley said. “I know the rules and regulations for Medicaid, Social Security, VA, railroad (retirement benefits), and Medicare, so those are the public benefits that the majority of our clients use.”
Bertelsen said she believes her experience qualifies her to be public administrator as well. At Mosaic she helps with Medicare submissions and regulatory oversight.
“I’ve been an assistant director of finance. I’ve worked hands-on with people, whether it was physical therapy or helping dress and feed people,” Bertelsen said. “I worked with developmentally disabled people, I worked with people who had mental illnesses as well as elderly people, so I worked in group homes, a sheltered workshop and nursing homes. I also volunteer a lot.”
Kennedy-Stickley believes one of the biggest things her office has accomplished has been the 15 to 20 individuals who have regained their rights during her first term.
“That means they’re their own person again,” Kennedy-Stickley said. “It’s a huge deal to those individuals.”
Bertelsen has been reviewing ways to improve the public administrator’s office.
“One of the things that I saw recurring was the paperwork, so I don’t know if it’s possible but I would like to look into some automation,” Bertelsen said. “Possibly some online filling out of paperwork.”
Kennedy-Stickley estimated the office is already 95% paperless, but she said she is open to ideas to cut down on paper.