What does a Receiver General do?

Daphne Mallory

A receiver general is in charge of the treasury for the regional government. These are public officers who are given broad authority to deal with investments and finances for the governments they serve. They are called treasurers in many jurisdictions and are often elected to their position to act as the region’s chief executive officer. Some of the receiver general duties include collecting taxes and other monies on behalf of the government, making disbursements, financing public works, and investing monies collected from taxpayers. They also must account for fiscal affairs of the government to their supervisor, such as the governor of a state.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Most of the monies collected by the region are collected by the receiver general, with the exception of specific public monies that are handled by independent administrators. For example, the owner of a vehicle may have to pay personal property taxes in the region and, if so, has to submit an annual payment to the general’s office. Staff working on behalf of the receiver general often take care of the daily functions that relate to receiving monies, such as opening the mail and making bank deposits. They report to the general, who sets policies and procedures for the staff to follow in order to ensure accuracy and accountability. The receiver general is responsible for accounting for the monies collected and for directing staff to initiate collection of monies not paid in compliance with regional and national laws.

Another function of the receiver general is to make disbursements on behalf of the region and provide the finances needed for certain public works. For example, checks that are made to local jurisdictions are often signed by the receiver general, who also has to account for the monies leaving the treasury. Funding of public works often includes financing school systems, transportation projects, and public parks. The general doesn’t often have the authority to make decisions on which public works to fund. Instead, he follows directives from the elected person who acts as the chief executive officer of the region, who often gets her directives from regional legislators who set policy on which agencies or projects get money.

It’s often the general’s job to grow the treasury in the best-case scenario and preserve it in the worst-case scenario. Asset management and investment is a crucial responsibility, and the receiver general needs to be knowledgeable and competent about investment practices. The general often has to manage bonds and certificates on behalf of the regional government as part of an overall investment strategy.

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