New auditor enjoys challenge of new duties
February 28, 2014
Like many others in Carroll County, newly appointed auditor Kourtney Irlbeck can't wait to kick this winter weather.
The mother of three cited summer as her favorite season, a time she and her family spend free time outdoors on their rural Carroll property, about two miles southeast of town.
Irlbeck has been serving as auditor since Jan. 1, replacing Joan Schettler, who left for a position with Robinson Ruhnke PC of Carroll. She worked in the elections and finance departments of the auditor's office for more than six years before moving into the auditor position. Ashten Wittrock was hired to replace Irlbeck in the elections department.
Prior to joining the auditor's office, Irlbeck worked as an accountant with Michelle H. Shirbroun PC in Carroll for nine years.
The Lake City native graduated from Southern Calhoun High School in 1993 and attended Des Moines Area Community College in Carroll, completing a two-year accounting program. But public sector accounting is more complex than any basic college course, she said.
"The biggest difference (between public and private accounting) is the availability of information," Irlbeck said. "There's nothing confidential as far as the money spent or revenue coming in."
It's also important to remember that funds cannot be moved between accounts, even if the excess in one account could cover a deficit in another, she said, adding that the rule was designed to protect taxpayers.
Irlbeck has recently been working with the Carroll County Board of Supervisors to wrap up the 2014-15 budget, citing the experience as a "good challenge."
"So many things all come together, and they need to be there from the start," Irlbeck said, expressing surprise at the amount of time involved. "The previous auditor helped me a lot to make sure I didn't leave anything out."
The auditor's office handles human resources tasks, elections and daily operations of the courthouse, records property ownership and determines tax rates.
Irlbeck also serves as clerk for the board of supervisors. She described the atmosphere as quiet, with little public interaction except around elections.
"My main goal is to continue the level set by Joan, the accuracy of the records - keep everything running as smoothly," she said.
The 38-year-old is married to Scot Irlbeck, who owns SI Auto Body in Carroll. Their two oldest children, ages 8 and 14, attend Kuemper Catholic Schools, and their youngest, 4, will begin school in the fall.
Irlbeck said the 14-year-old is interested in music, band and choir and the 8-year-old is interested in sports.
"Having kids changes you," she said. "They're a big part of your life, and you work to incorporate them into your extracurriculars."
She and her family can often be found cheering on the Cyclones at Iowa State University in Ames, but she said she'll root for any Iowa team that is playing an out-of-state opponent.
"Basketball (is my favorite sport) - I think because it's climate-controlled," she said with a laugh.
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