Mossbarger challenges Coole in primary

By Ryan Carter -

Brenda Mossbarger

Brenda Mossbarger

After spending 20 years as a valued employee at the Fayette County Auditor’s Office, Brenda Mossbarger is now seeking to put that experience to the test by running for the office of auditor.

The Fayette County native and Miami Trace High School graduate said she has the knowledge, experience and skill to excel at the job, and is asking the community to give her that opportunity at next Tuesday’s Republican primary election.

“I loved my job, and so enjoyed working with and helping the people of Fayette County for over 20 years,” said Mossbarger. “I know all the job duties and what needs to be done. I want the opportunity to continue where I left off when I was appointed as Fayette County Auditor.”

In March 2017, Mossbarger was appointed by the Fayette County Commissioners as the interim auditor following the retirement of former auditor, Mike Smith. However at the April 13 meeting of the Fayette County Republican Central Committee, the committee voted to appoint Aaron Coole as the auditor. Coole was reappointed by the committee a second time Nov. 9 after a civil suit was filed alleging that Coole’s April 13 appointment violated open meeting laws. As part of a settlement, the Republican central committee agreed to hold a re-vote on Nov.9.

Shortly thereafter, Mossbarger decided to run against Coole in the primary.

Mossbarger and her husband, Jim, have raised two daughters: Brooke and Ashleigh. Brooke is a graduate of Morehead State University with a degree in veterinary sciences, and Ashleigh is a full-time employee of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office. Jim is also a lifelong resident of Fayette County and is employed by Bryant Agricultural.

“I am also proud of the fact that my mother, Mary Lou Joseph, served as a previous Fayette County Auditor, and my father, Maynard Joseph, besides farming, owned and operated the frozen food locker in Washington Court House,” said Mossbarger.

Here are Mossbarger’s responses to other questions she was asked by the Record-Herald:

What first attracted you to work at the auditor’s office?

“When the position at the auditor’s office became available to me, the many jobs there were so interesting. I didn’t want to pass up the chance. I knew it was a great opportunity to increase my knowledge and it would be a challenging and rewarding place to work. With my mother being a past auditor, I was always very interested in all the different job duties and was amazed at all that office did. I greatly enjoy working with the public, and the auditor’s office would provide that opportunity to me.”

What did your job entail at the auditor’s office?

“I have worked in both departments of the auditor’s office, the financial (bookkeeping) department and the real estate department. In my 20-year career, I have handled and worked in all the aspects of the office.

“The financial department administers all payments to suppliers, contractors, vendors and invoicing for county government, plus the independent agencies whose financial business is handled by the auditor, such as the health department, Job and Family Services, and county engineer’s office. I have processed payroll for the county and these outside agencies. I have processed and balanced budgets, including estimated revenue, issuing purchase orders, and vouchers. Other duties I have performed on the bookkeeping side include: distribution of the motor vehicle license tax received from the State of Ohio to the townships, villages and Fayette County Engineer, distribute and administer the local government funds received from the state to political subdivisions that qualify. Also, I had to ensure the budgets are maintained for the county and all of these entities, by checking that expenditures do not exceed anticipated revenues.

“The bookkeeping function is critical to the fiscal responsibility, by monitoring the weekly incoming revenue against the anticipated revenue and the actual receipts from prior years. This allows the tracking of the financial position of the county to be accomplished.

“I was involved with the property tax collection and distribution, which includes both the real estate side, where the property values and tax rates are set, and also the bookkeeping side, which distributes the monies collected by the settlement process to the school districts, City of Washington, villages, townships, county government, and all levies passed by the voters.

“While in the real estate department, I performed the task of entering into the computer system the property values, maintaining those values on all properties, along with the property sketches. I also entered the land transfers, land splits, checking appraisals with the appraisal company, and the process of reevaluations. I worked with the Homestead program to approve and grant tax reductions to senior citizens who qualify, additionally granting the 2.5 percent reduction in real estate taxes for homeowners who qualify.

“I was in charge of the conversion to the new dog tags licensing system and the online purchasing option that is available to pet owners.

“Other duties included the Hotel Bed Tax collection and distribution to the county, city, villages and townships who have a hotel in their jurisdiction. I managed the Tax Increment Financing collections for the taxing authorities involved. I also handled vendors license administration and issuing, in cooperation with the State of Ohio, cigarette tax license collection and distribution to the State of Ohio.”

What did you contribute to make the auditor’s office a better one for the people of Fayette County?

“During my 20 years of experience in the auditor’s office, I was an honest, reliable and trustworthy member of the team. My goal was to provide the best possible customer service to the public, and solve their problems as if they were my own.

“I was the chief deputy auditor, which allowed me to take over the duties of auditor. When the last auditor retired, I was appointed as interim auditor by the Fayette County Commissioners based upon my experience and dedication. This appointment was an honor and true statement they believed in me and my abilities.

“After my appointment, I immediately began the process of updating the computer systems and data, and was in direct contact with the programmers and providers. I made adjustments in office staff hours to improve work flow, and had a plan in place for the future of the office.”

If elected, what are your plans for the office?

“I would want to check all areas of the office. Make sure there are no issues that need immediate response and that everything is up to date. Next, I would initiate a new effort to cooperate with all political subdivisions in the county by maintaining open communication and a positive working relationship. I would also continue to serve the public with respect and listen to their concerns and problems.

“A critical re-appraisal of all property values is occurring in 2018, effective for collection in 2019, I would want to ensure all property owners will be able to understand any value changes that may effect them.

“I want to continue to modernize the office by coordinating software issues with each company and making it a priority that I had started to address.”

Why do you think you’re better suited to this job than your primary opponent?

“I have the experience and the knowledge of the job. Again as stated, I have worked in both sides, I know how to start and end the duties of that office. With over 20 years of experience actually working in the trenches at the auditor’s office, the office is a complex operation that I have seen change over the years. I understand the reasons behind these changes and am well-equipped to address any future challenges to the office. Also as stated, I am a people person, I love and enjoy working with the public.”

Anything else you would like to relay to the taxpayers?

“The attacks on me coming from Mr. Coole and his campaign, concerning updating transfers and computer systems, relate to the prior administration and have no bearing on my efforts and competence to move forward as auditor. I had processes in place to address those issues. As mentioned previously, I immediately acted on all issues when appointed.

“Mr. Coole is not saving the taxpayers money by not having as many staff members. That is a county budget set for each department. Funds not used in the auditor’s budget will be moved to another department for their budget to use.

“Many candidates use the words honest, reliable and trustworthy as important selling points….I can use those words, along with dedication and over 20 years’ experience in this office. I am a people person, enjoy working with the public as well as the many departments throughout the city and county.

“When going to cast your vote, take the time to consider what sets me apart from the other candidate…experience, knowledge, dedication. I can go back in there and pick up where I left off. I am the most qualified candidate for the citizens of Fayette County.”

Brenda Mossbarger Mossbarger

By Ryan Carter

Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica

Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica