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Athens County Auditor

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    Jill A. Thompson
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Ric Wasserman
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

The Auditor is part of the county government, but also has a watchdog role over county funds. How would you balance working with other parts of county government while providing oversight?

How will you work to make county finances more transparent to residents?

The Auditor’s office has a wide variety of duties. Which will be most difficult for you and how will you approach that challenge?

Campaign Phone (740)331-1581
Campaign Email Jill4Auditor@gmail.com
Education and Experience County Auditor 2000 - Present; Master of Financial Economics, Ohio University 2013, GPA 4.0, Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society
As the Chief Fiscal Officer of Athens County, I am uniquely positioned to oversee money coming in and going out. Each transaction is monitored and reviewed for compliance, proper supporting documentation and public purpose. It is my duty to partner with every part of county government as their fiscal agent. As the only Republican in a partisan office, I do not buckle to political pressures or show favoritism. My loyalty is to good government, transparency and the Citizens of Athens. My record is proven and my experience reflects a high standard of accountability while balancing a cooperative spirit and the ability to provide meaningful data, analysis and advice so county government officials can make more informed and timely decisions.
Transparency only exists outside of one-party rule and political strong-arming. Private meetings, winks and handshakes do not result in transparency, but rather public corruption, poor management and less accountability. In the 22 years I’ve served as County Auditor, I have repeatedly exposed corruption and abuse. Under my watch the office upgraded to an integrated financial software application that ensures accountability, helps officials make informed decisions and increased financial transparency. Additionally, we operated seamlessly during the pandemic. Our office also launched the Ohio Checkbook to allow residents access to the county checkbook online from the comfort of their own home. Transparency exists because of my leadership.
In a 12/7/21 article in the Scioto Valley Guardian titled “Facts are Real” Editor-in-Chief Derek Myers best communicated my most difficult challenge when he stated “…working with someone who doesn’t want to work with you has to be like trying to contain a feral cat in a burlap bag.” The Auditor’s office continues to receive numerous awards and recognitions. It has been an honor to have been chosen to lead three statewide organizations. A strong and responsive network allows for increased efficiencies and continued effectiveness. Showing up for work every single day, keeping the citizens of Athens at the top of the organizational chart and understanding what it means to be a kind, humble public servant will continue to be my top priority.
Campaign Phone 7405945722
Campaign Email ricwasserman@gmail.com
Campaign Twitter Handle @@Ric_Wasserman
Education and Experience Athens County Treasurer since 2018. Chair of the Athens County Land Bank. BS, Comm, Ohio University, 1987.
The Auditor is the county’s Chief Financial Officer but also must be a resource to fiscal officers in other departments. The Auditor must always be on the lookout for potential fraud; however, the “watchdog role” has been distorted over the years. As Auditor, I'll scrutinize all payments carefully but I will not use that power to micromanage spending at other levels of government. Instead, I will take a new approach. Often it’s more important to be the “guide dog” to backstop and support county agencies in their fiscal affairs than to second-guess decisions made by townships, villages, and organizations with independent boards. As Auditor, those people will know I have their backs.
The county’s finances should be more transparent. After I raised this issue in February, the Auditor took an important step by putting the county’s finances on “OhioCheckbook.com,” something that I believe should have happened years ago. Similarly, the real estate appraisal process must also be opened further to public view. How many people know how their house’s value is arrived at or how to correct it if they believe it’s wrong? This process is currently very opaque and the Auditor’s office should do more to alert property owners to their rights. I will conduct community meetings all over the county when valuations are completed to allow taxpayers to ask questions and correct errors that result in higher taxes.
The Auditor’s portfolio is vast, concerning everything from real estate and finance to weights and measures. But everything starts with having a good team of people and treating them well so they feel valued and empowered to provide great service to taxpayers. My most immediate task will be to reverse the high rate of turnover that the Auditor’s office has experienced in recent years. These critical responsibilities require a seasoned staff of long tenure. High turnover results in important tasks falling through the cracks. I will dramatically increase training and professional development opportunities to current staff so they will want to stay and serve the public in one of the most pivotal offices in county government.