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County Assessor retiring after 42 years of service
Colusa County will lose another long standing employee and current elected official this week, as Wayne Zoller retires from his position as County Assessor.
"For 42 years, I've been working for the county. I hope Scott doesn't arrest me for stealing his line," Zoller said, in reference to a Sun-Herald article last week that detailed Colusa County Sheriff Scott Marshall's 42 years of service. "Scott still has to finish the year to get to 42 years. I'm already there."
Zoller has worked for the county for 42 years and has spent 39 working in the Assessor's office.
"For the first three years, I worked in the surveyors program. My dream was to be an engineer. I worked there in the summer during high school. I went to college and got married, and there wasn't much chance for advancement there, but there was a position for Appraiser 1 in the assessors office," he said.
Thirty-nine years later, Zoller is still married to his wife, Doris, and has spent that entire time working at the same office.
"I don't like too much change. I ended up sticking it out in both places," Zoller said, smiling.
Zoller is retiring with one year remaining on his term, and Kathleen Moran — County Clerk and Recorder — will be overseeing his office until the Colusa County Board of Supervisors appoints his replacement.
"Hopefully, there will be a smooth transition," Zoller said.
The election process
Zoller said that while some elected officials enjoy the process of elections, it was not something he particularly liked.
"The election process, that's something I wouldn't want to do again," he said.
But Zoller did have success during election years, something he attributes to being proactive during those periods, in addition to staying active in the community when it wasn't election season.
"That's part of the reason I think I did so well during elections," he said. "I went out there and pounded door to door. And I didn't reinvent myself during elections. Some people try to reinvent themselves during the election process but it's hard to reinvent yourself in a small county."
Working with people and the personal aspect of the job were some of the things that Zoller has enjoyed in his position.
"The most revealing part of the job was working with the tax payers and fixing their tax problems," he said. "I think you get a lot of respect from the taxpayers for getting things done quickly."
Zoller also appreciates the work of his staff, who he said "made his job easy" for him.
"My staff comes through; I couldn't have done it without them," he said.
Most of all, Zoller appreciates the opportunity that the taxpayers gave him by electing him to the position of county assessor.
"I really appreciate the taxpayers giving me a chance with the Assessor's position," he said.
According to Zoller, the Assessor's office has lost a good deal of experience in a short period of time.
"Our draftsman just retired, too, who had 35 years of experience. Between us, that's 77 years of experience," he said.
One thing Zoller regrets is that he won't be around to see the County through the new challenges ahead.
"That's one thing I kind of regret," he said. "I won't be there to face the new problems that are arising."
Zoller is proud that he has been able to save county taxpayers money by doing gas well valuations through his department. While in office, he helped to set up Three County Gas Valuations — a combination of individuals from Glenn, Sutter and Colusa Counties who worked together on doing gas well valuations to save each of their counties' taxpayers money.
By doing the gas well valuations on its own, Zoller's office saved the county from having to hire an outside agency "to a three-year, $110,000 per year contract, or $130,000 for a one-year deal."
Zoller plans to spend more time with family now that he has a little more free time.
"I'm going to spend some time with my family, and with my dad," he said. "Maybe spend some more time out on the river and lakes in my boat. You might see me out on the Sacramento."
When a friend from Yuba County called him after Zoller sent out a letter announcing his retirement, that friend asked how he knew it was time. Zoller didn't have a specific formula.
"I just said that you wake up one morning and you know," he said.
For the County Assessor, it was just the right time to retire.
"To me, it used to be more than a job," he said. "I enjoyed it. I enjoyed working with the county, but it came to the point where it just became a job. And I didn't want that. It needs more respect than just being treated like a job. In 42 years, governments and services change quite a bit. It has gotten less personal with the movement to digital, away from the papers and dealing with the people. That's a part of it."
Correa announces bid for Assessor
Andrea Correa has announced her intention to once again run for Colusa County Assessor in 2014.
Following her announcement on Monday, Correa is the first candidate to declare that she intends to run. Candidates have until March 7 to file for candidacy for next year's election.
Correa, who is the county's assessment office manager, cites her experience as a key to her campaign.
"I've been with the county for almost 28 years, but have almost 39 years in the public and private sector (combined)," she said. "Experience, leadership, and a positive outlook, that's what we need."
Correa is a lifelong Colusa County resident, as is her husband, Doug Correa.
The couple raised their two children — now grown — in Colusa. Both graduated from Colusa High School.
The county "has lost a lot of experience in the last six months," Correa said. "I am experienced, and I want to keep experience working for the county."
She said that while there will be minor changes to her platform for this election, it will be similar to what it was the last time she ran in 2006.
"As long as we make fair assessments and follow the tax laws, we're in a good place," Correa said.
— Brian Pearson