Pickaway – Pickaway County Auditor has sent in a letter to the editor, this is below.
First, I would like to thank the citizens of Pickaway County for supporting me as their County Auditor for the last 23 years. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve in this role. I have done so with honesty and integrity and without blemish on my record. I have loved my job and I will continue to serve the people of our County until I retire at the end of my term in March. I am NOT a career politician. I have been called this many times over this election cycle and ones prior. I have been blessed to have a career that I love and so has the amazing staff that I work with. Most of my staff have been there for several years. I have built a team that is reliable and well educated in the roles of the Auditor’s office. They too are dedicated to the people of this County and I am fortunate to have these individuals working by my side each and every day. I am very proud of my staff and the work we do, so to have our public service and credibility attacked is very upsetting to me. I understand that we all need to have a party affiliation when you are running for an elected position. That is where the politics in this job ends. My staff and I have always treated each person that walked in our office with the same respect and courtesy regardless of their politics. That is not a question that is asked when someone walks in the door. Even my staff is a mix of Democrats and Republicans. It was both Republicans and Democrats that had the belief and trust in me that elected me to this position. It was my experience and ability to do the job that earned the faith and confidence of the people in our County when I was first elected and in each election after that. It was not my political affiliation.
I have run my office efficiently and effectively. You do not hold an elected position in our County and not run your office in that capacity. We all are conservative in our spending. We have had to be over the years. When I first came into office, there were times we wondered how we could meet payroll. Money was tight and there weren’t cash balances that would provide us to be any other way. Today we have a general fund balance at almost $14M dollars. Sales tax has increased over the years tremendously, real estate is booming, and conveyance dollars are at all times high. But we didn’t get to those types of balances without being cautious of how we spent our dollars. I would challenge you to look at the spending of the general fund and the Auditor’s office. Other than salary line items, our spending amounts are actually less now than what they were when I took office. My employees deserve much more than they are earning now, but we stay within the budget that is set for us by the County Commissioners. It is also on a monthly basis that I report to that same body of elected individuals where our fund balances stand and what the receipts and expenditures are for the month. I would also challenge you to look at the technology of the Auditor’s office. When I hear about modernizing the office and updating technology, it leads the public to believe we are working on stone tablets or systems that are obsolete. This is absolutely not the case. We have updated real estate software. Our real estate system is the same software used by many counties in the State of Ohio. When we made major updates in our payroll and finance systems, we asked each department of the County to be a part of that process and give us their input. We chose, at the time, what we felt was best for the County AND was also within our financial means. There have still been system updates and even the ability for all of our departments to have access to our finance system was added. The last request made for funding to the Commissioners to help streamline one of our financial processes was denied. Unfortunately, there was not enough funds in my budget to take on the cost. Another success was when we implemented E-Recordings in the County several years ago. This process was done in a joint effort with the Recorder and Engineer. It has made the process of filing deed transfers, mortgages, etc., easier for our attorneys and title companies. And it was at NO COST to the citizens of Pickaway County. We updated our website this past year and added several new tools that benefit our citizens and at the same cost as our old website. So for anyone to say that our office is ineffective or that we are doing what is just best for my staff and our office is completely out of touch and has never taken the time to see what our systems actually look like and how they function. I would encourage those elected officials who are feeding this conversation to come and take a look for themselves. Our doors are always open. We have ALWAYS been open to change and have made many updates and adjustments over the years. We do what is best for the citizens of Pickaway County. That is our number one priority. There is a absolute lack of understanding and communication or none whatsoever from those who are making these statements. I would encourage them to talk to me and my staff or visit our office so we can share the day to day business of the office and the systems that we run to support that activity.
In a few short days, you will have the opportunity to elect a new County Auditor. My complete support is with Marsha Few. No, she is not a career politician. Yes, she is a seasoned and exceptional employee of my office and has been for many years. Yes, she is a Democrat running for this office. Yes, she understands the importance of being accountable to the taxpayers and citizens of Pickaway County. Yes, she knows that we have to be conservative in our spending and not wasteful in what we do. Yes, she has all the experience that is needed to run the office. Yes, experience is a positive when stepping into an office, elected or otherwise. This is an advantage that she has over her opponent. It is definitely something that should be at the top of the list when looking at a candidate for any job. Yes, she will look at the operations that are currently in place in the Auditor’s office. Yes, she will make her own decisions. Yes, I am sure there will be changes she will want to implement. Yes, she is the common sense vote for Pickaway County Auditor. I encourage you to get out and vote on November 8th. Vote for Marsha Few, Pickaway County Auditor.
Melissa A. Betz,
Pickaway County Auditor