Tompkins tackles big to-do list as appointed auditor

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North Scott class of ’92 alumnus Kerri Tompkins is diving head first into her new Scott County Auditor’s job with a daunting to-do list.

Meet staff.

Learn operations.

Reach out to neighboring auditors.

Schedule poll worker training.

Inspect petitions calling for a special auditor election.

Mount a campaign to run in that election if need be.

Tompkins said she would definitely run this year if Scott County voters override her appointment by supervisors and call for a special election. She said she accepted the job intending to run in 2022. “I would expect to, assuming it’s a good fit for myself. I don’t expect not to like it.”

Tompkins lived in Park View and Eldridge while attending North Scott schools. She graduated with plans to attend Scott Community College and work in the Ben Franklin floral department making arrangements and wedding bouquets.

Tompkins arrives as an experienced human resources and office manager, and that’s the role she expects to continue with a staff she said is well qualified to conduct elections, an auditor’s most well known responsibility.

“Our No. 1 job is elections. That involves lots of policy, lots of particulars. That’s an area where I want to become an expert. There is amazing staff here. They run the show. They do a great job. My job is getting to know them and how they do things and how I can help. I see my role as helping staff be successful, and be a resource for the community,” Tompkins said.

Tompkins wrapped up her duties this week at Mindfire, an advertising firm based in LeClaire, where she’s been office manager since February 2020. Before that, she worked a year and a half for Volt Consulting, managing about 200 contracted workers at Deere. She earned a degree in St. Ambrose University’s first masters program in social work administration in 1999, while she worked at Bethany for Children and Families.

Her longest positions include Davenport’s Christ United Methodist Church administrator 2013 to 2020, and Davenport 8th Ward alderman January 2014 to December 2019.

While she hadn’t considered running for this particular office before being contacted by county board chairman Ken Beck, she said a return to public service was in the cards.

She believes that HR and administrative experience, along with three Davenport council terms, gives her the credibility to accept this appointment, and run for the office.

“What I really enjoy is learning processes and creating efficiencies. Are there better ways to do things? What are best practices?” she said.

“I want people to know I am qualified for this position. I bring a lot to the table. And I’m excited to serve Scott County.”

Tompkins said she knew Beck from their service together on some appointed boards, including the Bi-State Regional Commission.

“Ken called and said, ‘Hey, I wanted to ask if you’d be interested.’ He thought my experience would bring good skills to the position,” Tompkins said. “Obviously, I had to think about it. But I believe in serving our community. I feel it’s a good fit.”

Tompkins said she spoke once with Beck, and once with supervisor Tony Knobbe before accepting the job. Beck has divulged no other applicants.

Tompkins said she had not spoken with supervisor John Maxwell prior to her appointment. “I knew him, but did not have a conversation with him. As far as I know, he didn’t know,” Tompkins said.

She was office manager at Maxwell’s church, Christ United Methodist Church, Davenport.

Tompkins and her husband, Andrew, have been married 25 years and live in Davenport. He works for Deere. Son Noah is attending the University of Iowa’s Tippe business college. Son Gage is a junior at Davenport North.

She believes, “Iowa has a very good reputation,” for honest elections. “Just moving forward, I want to continue that, and make sure we follow all of the rules.”

Nationally, many Republican elected leaders still contend the 2020 election was influenced by fraud.

“I think there are some questionable things. Absolutely. I don’t know all the details. I won’t pretend I do. I wasn’t there,” she said.

As for the legitimacy of President Biden’s election, Tompkins said: “I’m not even going to go there. There’s a process, and if improvements need to made we’ll make them. I certainly can’t solve the national concerns. My goal is to make sure Scott County does the best we can do in following the law.”

Tompkins said she has yet to consider what to do with remaining grant funding from The Center for Tech and Civic Life, a nonprofit supported by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The $286,870 grant helped pay for Scott County’s early voting materials and staff in the 2020 election.

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