Diane Hutchings’ financial, public backgrounds add up to fulfilling role as tax collector

By Don Coble don@opcfla.com
Posted 8/26/20

CLAY COUNTY – Diane Hutchings always like crunching numbers. Whether it was when she worked 20 years in the banking and financial industry, or when she served on the Green Cove Springs City Council …

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Diane Hutchings’ financial, public backgrounds add up to fulfilling role as tax collector

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – Diane Hutchings always like crunching numbers. Whether it was when she worked 20 years in the banking and financial industry, or when she served on the Green Cove Springs City Council and the Clay County Board of Commissioners, she had a role in setting polices and budgets that affected every resident.

As the newly-elected county tax collector, Hutchings will step away from much of the public’s eye to finish her public service career doing what she likes most – providing customer service.

“I’ve had it in the back of my mind for three years,” Hutchings said of running for tax collector. “I come from a background where you do a lot of postings and balancing. In comparison to setting policies and setting a budget, it will be a very different job.”

Hutchings decided to run after Jimmy Weeks announced his retirement after serving the county for 42 years – the last 24 running the tax collector’s office.

Hutchings won the Aug. 18 Republican Party primary against Ronnie Robinson. She was supposed to face write-in candidate Tom Platt in the Nov. 3 general election, but Platt withdrew shortly after last week’s vote.

She will be sworn in on Jan. 5.

Hutchings already as met with the staff at her new post, and she came away with some ideas to “take what’s really good and make it better.” She’s also visited the Nassau County Tax Collector’s office to study their policies and systems, and she plans to work with other counties to create a possible collaboration to enhance services throughout the region.

“We may even share things with them they don’t know,” Hutchings said. “I will create a leadership team and we will focus on customer service.”

While on the county council, Hutchings helped set taxes and millage rates for property owners. Now she will be in charge of sending the bills, collecting the money and refining a process that makes the process run smoothly.

Hutchings spent six years on the Green Cove Springs City Council and left public office to work in the private sector for 20 years. She started with financial services at Barnett Bank, and she’s worked with Saloman Smith Barney, Prudential Financial and was the Managing Director of First Florida Credit Union.

She was elected as a Clay County Commissioner in 2012, where she will continue to serve on the board until she takes her oath for her new job on Jan. 5.

She said it will be her last job.

“It’s that time in life when it’s your last career move,” she said.

But for now, she’s looking forward to crunching a lot of numbers.

“I’m really looking forward to this,” she said. “It will be a lot more fun.”

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