2014 Tax Collector of the Year

Durham, NC – May 16, 2014. Posted by Shelley Hare.

INTRO:Wake County Revenue Director Marcus Kinrade was awarded the 2014 Tax Collector of the Year during the North Carolina Tax Collectors Association (NCTCA) Spring Conference in Asheville. Each year, honorees of this award are selected on the basis of individual leadership, outstanding performance of duties, and delivering services of value for local governments across the state. Farragut interviewed Kinrade to get his take on this recognition of his achievements and gain insight into what drives his successful and dedicated involvement with NC county and state government.

Outstanding Achievements

Kinrade has served an intrinsic role in Wake County government since 2002 and was appointed as their Revenue Director in 2008. He has delivered a number of innovative achievements for the Wake County Revenue Department, which include receiving the Distinguished Large Jurisdiction Award for their online business listing system, increasing Debt Setoff Collections by developing a program that links accounts to Social Security numbers automatically and at no cost, and maintaining extremely high collection rates – with two consecutive years above 99 percent!

Award Recognition

We asked Kinrade how it felt to be recognized by his peers for his innovation and hard work, and be awarded with the 2014 Tax Collector of the Year Award:

“It’s extremely humbling to know that you are nominated by your staff and then selected and recognized by your peers,” Kinrade told us. “Looking at the names of those who received this award before me, many of whom are good friends of mine that I respect tremendously; it just makes you feel like you must be doing something right.”

“Our operation would not be successful without tremendous managers and a well-trained, professional staff that all work incredibly hard,” he continued. “My main strategy to achieve all our goals is to create the best, most professional, generally cross-trained staff possible. We have focused hard on this over the past couple of years and I think we are seeing the fruits of that effort now.”

Why NC Local Government?

We asked Kinrade what motivated his initial decision to become involved with local government, or if it had always been a goal of his to work in the revenue industry:

“I’m sure there are a lot of County and City Managers who planned on doing what they do now when they were in secondary or post-secondary school, but I don’t think you would be able to find any North Carolina property tax assessors, collectors, or administrators that “always knew” they wanted to do this job,” Kinrade explained. “It’s sort of an accidental profession that you somehow stumble into along the way.”

““My military experience taught me a lot about dealing with challenging individuals and situations, and I also had a talent for problem solving, math and statistics,” he continued. “Combined with the computer skills that I had learned in college and my first career out of college, it just seemed like a perfect fit. So when this opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it. It’s very unique, challenging and rewarding,” shared Kinrade.

Upcoming Initiatives

In addition to his role as Revenue Director, Kinrade is also involved in a number of North Carolina government associations and committees, including the NCACC, Tag and Tax Control Board, the NCTCA, and the NCAAO.

So what’s next? We asked Kinrade to identify the upcoming initiatives that he is most excited about:

“The most exciting thing we are working on currently is trying to bring the 2019 IAAO conference to North Carolina,” revealed Kinrade. “We have made the initial cut and are now competing with two other potential locations to host the conference. I’m currently working with a video production company to produce an exciting and compelling recruitment video that we will present with hopes of putting North Carolina on top when the decision is made in July,” he said.

Work Life

We asked Kinrade to give us an idea of what he enjoys most about his career, his involvement in local government associations and committees, and his position as the Revenue Director for Wake County:

“It’s nice when taxpayers come in or call and they want to talk to you about how well they were treated or how they were “surprised” at how quickly their question was answered or their problem resolved,” said Kinrade. “Every once in a while you can also show a little empathy for a tough situation and “work with” a taxpayer and actually have the situation resolved amicably for both parties. And I also really enjoy the work I do on the Education Committee for both NCAAO and NCTCA.”

And what are the most challenging aspects?

“You deal with the same cycle every year and invariably you deal with some of the same taxpayers every year,” Kinrade informed us. “Turning this challenge into an opportunity by thinking about ways to change bad behavior is something we constantly work on.”

Any Advice?

We asked Kinrade if he would mind sharing advice for others looking to achieve similar success in their jurisdiction and across all aspects of local government:

“Making positive changes in government (or any type of organization) can’t be done overnight – it takes time and persistence,” responded Kinrade. “Rather than focusing on today, promote or hire staff with an eye on your long term goals; where do you want the office to be in 5, 10 or 20 years?”

“Look to promote or hire staff that are smarter than you, technically savvy, and can exercise common sense while keeping in mind there are rules that cannot be broken,” he continued. “Make sure they are well trained, then delegate, get out of their way and let them do their job.”

“To make positive change, you have to know what’s working and what isn’t,” explained Kinrade. “Get out of the weeds and take an objective look at your entire operation by trying to measure everything you produce and see where you’re falling short…and then have the courage to fix it even if the fix is hard or unpopular.”

“Seek to get involved in the various associations in any or every way possible,” Kinrade also advised. “Step out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there as a future leader.”