Two Republican candidates are vying for the position of Fayette County Auditor following the retirement of Mike Smith.
Brenda Mossbarger, who was recently appointed by the Fayette County Commissioners as acting auditor, and Aaron Coole, the owner of Sears Hometown Stores in Washington C.H. and Jackson, Ohio, are seeking to fill the remainder of Smith’s term. Since Smith ran for auditor as a Republican, the Fayette County Republican Central Committee will appoint either Mossbarger or Coole at its April 13 meeting.
Smith was elected in 2006 and was sworn in as Fayette County Auditor in March of 2007. The individual who is appointed as auditor will serve the remainder of Smith’s unexpired term, which runs until March 10, 2019. The person who’s appointed will have to win at the 2018 primary and general elections to serve as auditor beyond that date.
Both Coole and Mossbarger will be given approximately five minutes to make their cases in front of the central committee. Committee members will then be able to ask questions of the two candidates.
“I saw this as a good opportunity for public service,” said Coole. “I’m very interested in politics and I think I would be able to serve the county’s taxpayers very well.”
Coole said he believes his business acumen would translate very well to the auditor’s office. He is a self-employed small business owner responsible for all aspects of running a Sears Hometown Store. He’s been the owner/operator of the Washington C.H. store since 2010 and the Jackson store since 2014.
These duties include selling appliances, lawn and garden equipment, and tools to customers in a retail setting; handling customer service issues in a professional manner; managing employees’ hiring, firing, training and development; operating a delivery crew that delivers appliances for customers; handling a budget and staying current with payroll, rent and other bills; successfully negotiating favorable lease deals; and maintaining high levels of customer service and satisfaction.
According to his resume, Coole turned around a failing business, drove a sales increase in each of the first three years, and changed the community perception of the business in Washington C.H. It also says that he was the lead in successfully moving the store location in Washington C.H., and that he purchased and redeemed a failing store, and then restored it to a thriving business in Jackson.
Mossbarger has worked in the Fayette County Auditor’s Office for the past 20 years. In July of 1996, she became the accounts payable clerk in the bookkeeping department. Her job duties included completing all the account payable checks, and balancing monthly reports and year-end reports. She worked directly with the Fayette County Commissioners’ clerk to assure everything within the county was balanced.
Mossbarger also worked as a back-up to the payroll clerk. In 2001, she changed positions and moved to the real estate side of the auditor’s office. At this point, she was in charge of personal property, sketching for new property, and answering and calculating real estate taxes and estate taxes. She was also in charge of everything pertaining to dog tags for the county.
When Smith became auditor, Mossbarger was appointed as his chief deputy. In 2015, she moved back to the bookkeeping department and handled the county pay-ins, the balance daily with the treasurer’s office, track purchase orders and payment vouchers.
In a letter addressed to the Fayette County Republican Central Committee on Aug. 24, 2016, Mossbarger wrote, “For many years, I have considered running for the position of Fayette County Auditor. With the news of Mike’s early retirement, I would consider this a great achievement to be appointed to his position. My mother, Mary Lou Joseph, served as a past County Auditor from 1983 to 1995 and I feel it would be an honor to follow in her footsteps.”
Smith recently recommended to the central committee that Mossbarger be appointed to the position.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica