CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – A Dartmouth College student who was ridiculed as a “teenybopper” when she was elected county treasurer in November has been missing meetings and is too reliant on e-mail, according to county officials who briefly considered removing her from office.

Democrat Vanessa Sievers, a junior from Big Sky, Mont., won the Grafton County position after targeting college-age voters with a $42 ad on Facebook.

Sievers did not immediately respond to a phone message and e-mail from The Associated Press on Wednesday, but did defend herself in an e-mail sent to the Valley News of Lebanon earlier in the week.

“The problem is not in my duties, it is in the communication between offices,” she wrote. “There should be no concerns that I am over my head and cannot perform my job.”

The incumbent who lost to Sievers, Republican Carol Elliott, blamed her election defeat on “brainwashed college kids” and worried that taxpayers had “a teenybopper for a treasurer.”

Other county officials were quick to defend Sievers at the time. Now, some are expressing frustration with what they perceive as her lack of commitment to a job that pays $6,408 a year and involves keeping tabs on county money and making investments and payments.

Commissioner Martha Richards, a Democrat from Holderness, characterized Sievers’ performance as mediocre.

“I don’t think she really knew what she was in for. I think she probably was honest in her heart about running, but I did kind of wonder, did she do it on a lark?” Richards said Wednesday. “Being a Dartmouth student, we know she’s intelligent. But also being a student, I think she’s probably pulled in a lot of directions.”

On Tuesday, a Republican commissioner moved to strip Sievers of her authority and pass the duties to the deputy treasurer, an executive with a local bank. But neither Richards nor Republican commission Chairman Michael Cryans supported the motion.

“I felt I want to give her another chance,” Richards said. “We want her to succeed. It was very exciting to have this young person win and do it in a very different methodology than when what we older people do.”

Sievers did not attend Tuesday’s meeting. She also missed a Feb. 10 meeting because she had to work at an on-campus job. She said she would try to be reachable by e-mail.

“It’s a new mind-set for all of us and this is the way Vanessa has been doing things – everything is by e-mail,” Richards said. “I think there’s just some old fashioned protocols that need to be followed, and I hope that will happen.”

Commissioners are concerned that Sievers has yet to present her plan to invest about $10 million in county funds after a one-month certificate of deposit account paying 1 percent interest matured on Jan. 22.

Cryans, of Hanover, has said the county was losing out on as much as $540 a day because the money was sitting in a checking account. The county’s executive director moved it to a money-market account pending a more permanent investment plan, which Sievers is expected to present next week.

AP-ES-02-18-09 1435EST

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