Election Day, Nov. 8, is less than a month away and early voting is in full swing at the Washington County Courthouse. There are two candidates running for city auditor - Sherri Hess, the Republican candidate, and Dana Singer, the Independent candidate. The Marietta/Washington County League of Women Voters asked these candidates to respond to the following questions. Read carefully and decide who you think will be the best person for the job.
Question: Share some biographical information and your philosophy on being city auditor.
Dana Singer - I was raised on Long Island. I began college at 17, but left to join the Navy in 2000. I repaired aviation electronics, then during my second deployment to the gulf I volunteered for combat cargo, rising up to team leader status within two months. I got out in 2004 and went back to college then on to law school, working my way through both. I accepted my first legal job two weeks after graduation, went on to pass the bar and began doing pro bono legal work on constitutional law issues as well as working as a regional director of voter protection.
The auditor analyzes all financial data-ensuring money is appropriately expended, properly collected and completely accounted for in a clear, transparent manner; while also identifying outstanding debts. The auditor conducts independent reviews of city programs and business practices to assess efficiency, economy, effectiveness and any issues of non-compliance, or willful neglect of duty or fraud. He/she supervises payroll and manages the auditor's office.
Sherri Hess - I am a lifelong resident of Marietta. My husband, Chris, and I have raised our two sons, Caleb and Connor, in Marietta where I was actively involved through the years with their school activities and sporting events. I've been a member of Gilman United Methodist Church my entire life, where I am currently serving on the board of trustees and have served on various other boards and committees and had served as treasurer for 17 years. I am also an active member of the Marietta High School Tiger Boosters and Ohio Child Conservation League.
The auditor is a fiscal manager, who prepares financial statements and other financial information such as tax budgets and financial forecasting; while applying accounting principles with checks and balances. The auditor also maintains internal controls over financial reporting making sure the city is compliant with all financial procedures.
League of Women Voters
The mission of the League of Women Voters is to "encourage informed and active participation in government, work to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influence public policy through education and advocacy." To achieve our mission, the Marietta/Washington County League of Women Voters is planning a column periodically to educate voters as they prepare to vote on Nov. 8. The information will be nonpartisan and cover a variety of topics.
Please remember that the League of Women Voters is open to both men and women so if you are interested in joining, call Caroline Putnam at 373-4510.
Q.: What knowledge, skills and/or abilities do you have that will make you the best city auditor?
Sherri Hess - I believe my record (30 years) of experience and knowledge in the auditor's office speaks well for me. I have held every position in the auditor's office and have served as the chief deputy auditor since January 1996 and have been a very loyal and trustworthy employee with an excellent attendance record. I am the best choice for auditor and will continue as always to keep the auditor's office duties/work done in a very timely fashion.
Dana Singer - Knowledge skills and abilities I possess that will make me the best auditor: critical leadership skills and priceless life experience; analytical and critical thinking skills; over 10 years of management experience, both public/private sector, four in direct customer service and one in sales; over 40 hours of voluntary leadership, management and business courses; fresh eyes, fresh perspective, a proven willingness to learn and a work ethic to always go above and beyond what's expected.
Q.: What is one of the first activities you feel needs to be done if elected Marietta City Auditor?
Dana Singer - Update online accessibility; allowing citizens to have instant and thorough information on the city's financial status including overall performance of government functions. Prevent constant crises where budget deadlines are put in jeopardy. Update programs used so we are able to produce current data, allowing management to base decisions on relevant information rather than historical data.
Sherri Hess - I would strive to have a new integrated payroll and budgetary system for the whole city. Our current system does a good job for its capabilities but getting everyone on the same system will increase efficiency and be more cost effective. I will diligently continue to work with everyone to have a better and brighter future for the city of Marietta.
Upcoming forum for debates
There is an opportunity to hear the candidates at a forum next week, 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, at the Marietta College television station, McKinney Center, for the council president, auditor and mayor debates and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the McKinney Center to watch the city council debates. The community is welcome to attend or view the debates on channel 15 at times to be announced. The League of Women Voters encourages you to get educated about the candidates and issues so you are ready to vote Nov. 8.
Article submitted by Betsy Cook, a member of the Marietta/Washington County League of Women Voters.