Video Editing by Anne Simons.
Pima County Assessor Suzanne Droubie pledge to fight to make the office’s forms and website bilingual. Droubie, who spoke at the August 9, 2021 meeting of Democrats of Greater Tucson, that the state Department of Revenue told her all documents must be in English.
Article 28 of the Arizona state constitution was approved by voters in 2006 and makes English the official state language, even though 29% of Arizonans are Hispanic. Article 28 also provides, “Official actions shall be conducted in English.”
“To me, it’s a discriminatory article that was put in place to disenfranchise our Spanish-speaking community,” Droubie said. “Part of that article states that we are forbidden from putting out documents in Spanish. And while I understand that English is the primary language, I also understand that many of many Americans don’t speak English, and so they shouldn’t be disenfranchised by me by the government or by anybody else.”
She added, “As part of good customer service and good government, I believe that the practice should always be to provide material in the language in which somebody can understand it.” With more than 24 years of combined experience as a property tax agent, appraiser, real estate agent, and customer service specialist, Suzanne Droubie was elected Pima County Assessor in 2020.
When Droubie announced that the Assessor’s website and documents would be bilingual, the state quickly shot back regarding Article 28. But county officials are not intimidated.
New county attorney Laura Conover and county administrator Chuck Huckelberry are both very supportive of the Assessor’s position. “This is a fight that I will take as far as I need to take it,” Droubie said. “I don’t mind leading the way if I have to keep on keeping on.”
“The website will be bilingual,” she pledged. “So that everybody can just go to the website, click on their language of choice and proceed with self-helping — instead of always having to look for somebody else to translate stuff. That’s frustrating and to me in Pima County there’s no reason for it. So we’re working very hard to get that done as quickly as possible.”
A customer service approach
The previous Republican Assessor, Bill Staples, held the office for 12 years and was adversarial with taxpayers. But Droubie has taken a distinctly customer-service orientation in several programs:
- A Business Services Department dedicated to assisting the business community with their projects and developments by providing valuation projections and education.
- A Rapid Response Team providing real-time assistance to property owners suffering a loss from fire or other natural disasters.
- A Community Outreach Department providing timely assistance and information at our County’s Public Libraries.
- An enhanced Customer Service Department to provide exceptional help to the public.
“If you have ideas on what we can do at the assessor’s office, let me know and we’ll try to implement it,” she said. “That’s why I ran so hard to get into this place. It was just to really make this officer resource. This office is yours. I’m just here, implementing your ideas and making it the best assessor’s office I can for Pima County.”