Christian County Treasurer Karen Matthews

Christian County Treasurer Karen Matthews spoke to members of the Ozark Chamber of Commerce at a drive-up luncheon July 23, in the parking lot at Ozark High School.

She’s been at the job for 17-plus years, and Christian County voters will trust her for more.

Karen Matthews won her Republican primary election for Christian County treasurer by defeating challenger Aaron Johns 7,552 to 5,039 on Aug. 4. Matthews received 59.98 percent of the popular vote with 26 of 26 precincts reporting across Christian County.

Johns, a longtime Ozark R-VI Board of Education member announced his intent to challenge the incumbent Matthews for the office of Christian County treasurer on Oct. 24, 2019.

Matthews was first elected to office in 2002 and took office in January 2003.

As the incumbent treasurer of Christian County, Matthews supervises an overall budget of about $17 million. It’s a dollar figure that has grown steadily each year since she took office in 2003.

“I’ve been audited every year,” Matthews said in an interview prior to the election. “We’ve had two separate state audits besides all of the independent audits that we’ve had, and I’ve never been written up for any of them ever, which I’m pretty proud of that. To me, that’s quite an accomplishment.”

Matthews is also proud of her record with monthly bank reconciliations.

“I’ve never written off one penny since I’ve been here. I mean, our bank reconciliations come out to the penny every month,” Matthews said.

Matthews oversaw two major software changes and four different account number changes in Christian County government during her time in office. The most recent software switch occurred April 1, 2017, when officeholders started using programs made by Tyler Technologies.

“Our software that we have now does way more than what we had when I first came (into office),” Matthews said. “Whenever we moved over to Tyler, I wanted to be able to scan documents with our receipting, and I told them that, so when they were doing their presentation they said, ‘Well, we don’t have that capability right now,’ and i said, ‘I want that or I’m not going to be happy with the system,’” Matthews said.

Tyler Technologies added the feature that Matthews asked for. A representative from Tyler Technologies now reportedly refers to the receipt scanning function of his company’s software as, “the Karen Matthews feature,” when selling the software to other county treasurers, especially those in Missouri.

Matthews is active in four different chambers of commerce, and is known for the homemade coconut pies she supplies as door prizes to many lucky winners through the years.

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