A familiar face was appointed Monday by local state district judges to be the new McLennan County auditor.
First assistant county auditor Frances Bartlett was the judges’ unanimous choice to replace her boss, Stan Chambers, as the county’s top fiscal watchdog.
Bartlett, 37, begins her two-year term Feb. 18 at a salary of $135,000.
“I’m very, very honored to even be given the opportunity,” she said. “I am very, very thankful.”
As county auditor, she will oversee all county financial records, enforce laws regarding county finances, perform audits of departments and provide financial forecasts for budgets.
She succeeds Chambers, 57, who announced in January he was leaving his post of eight years to return to Anderson County. In McLennan County, he won plaudits for improving budget transparency and accounting practices and uncovering financial improprieties by two elected officials.
Bartlett has served as Chambers’ first assistant for almost six years and has worked in the auditor’s office for 12 years.
Judge Ralph Strother, McLennan County’s senior state district judge, said Bartlett came highly recommended.
“She has the support of many elected officials and department heads,” Johnson said. “She has worked closely with Mr. Chambers the last several years in modernizing the auditor’s office and developing the budget processes for a growing county. The district judges unanimously supported her appointment, and we look forward to working with her. We are fortunate to have someone of her caliber and talents.”
County auditors are hired and supervised by state district judges to maintain their autonomy from commissioners courts, which set county budgets.
Bartlett graduated from Baylor University in 2004 with a bachelor of applied arts in accounting, and she is a state licensed certified public accountant. She is a graduate of Axtell High School and has lived in the county her entire life. Bartlett has been married to her husband, Jason, for almost 15 years and they have a 7-year-old daughter.
Judge Matt Johnson of 54th State District Court said appointing Bartlett as county auditor was not a difficult decision for the board of district judges.
“Frances has served as first assistant to County Auditor Stan Chambers and has a full understanding of our county financial system,” Strother said. “She is well respected, extremely knowledgeable and highly qualified. Frances knows the duties and responsibilities of the job and she is clearly up to serving as county auditor.”
McLennan County Judge Scott Felton said Bartlett’s hire will allow for a smooth transition in the auditor’s’ office and in working with the budget.
“She’s so creative in the process as well, just like Stan Chambers was,” Felton said.
Bartlett said the accounting office has a great working relationship with the commissioners court and the other departments throughout the county. Chambers helped build that relationship and Bartlett said she is eager to help continue that throughout the county.
“I’m excited to continue that really good relationship that we have,” she said.
Chambers last day is Friday. He was hired in January 2011 to replace Steve Moore, who retired after working McLennan County since 1991 and serving as auditor since 1997.