Two battle for one spot to handle Perkins finances

Two candidates are vying for the same four-year position - as one attempts to keep employment in Perkins Township and as the other desires to wrestle the job from the incumbent.
Andy Ouriel
Nov 3, 2011

Two candidates are vying for the same four-year position — as one attempts to keep employment in Perkins Township and as the other desires to wrestle the job from the incumbent.

Township fiscal officer Diane Schaefer will combat candidate Jane Gildenmeister for the elected office, which pays about $28,000 a year.

Both have a wealth of government experience. Schaefer is seeking her third term in office, and previously worked in other township capacities such as a school bus driver and fire dispatcher.

Gildenmeister served about two decades working for Erie MetroParks and also worked as a financial employee at H&R Block.

The two separately sat down with the Register to answer pressing questions surrounding the position.

Q: Please explain the fiscal officer’s role as an elected official and a person representing the 12,000-plus township residents.
DS: The position of fiscal officer is not a decision-making position. That is for the trustees. But they rely on the fiscal officer for projections of how much income they are going to receive during the year. We have to look at the big picture. You have to show you are balancing everyone’s needs for the township.
JG: The fiscal officer position for Perkins Township is a very important part of Perkins local government. It’s the lifeblood of the township. It controls the purse strings. The person in there must have integrity, which means you always do the right thing even when nobody is looking.

Q: Perkins Township is in the midst of creating a new Township Hall, which will be a multi million-dollar facility housing many of its government departments. What is the fiscal officer’s responsibility in the creation of Township Hall?
DS: The goal is to have all the plans be complete before construction is started. The trustees have to make decisions, such as going with a manager to oversee the project. (For the fiscal officer,) the responsibilities are processing the payments to the contractors on time to avoid change orders (or unexpected bills).
JG: The township trustees are the ones that make the decisions about where the money is going and (where it is) to be spent. The fiscal officer needs to make sure that the bills get paid in a timely fashion and that the money is there.

Q: What is the biggest obligation of the fiscal officer?
DS: The biggest one is making sure that we are complying with state audits (which includes) payroll issues and processing purchase orders. The fiscal officer makes sure the money is available (for projects and payroll). If that process is not done, you could find yourself in trouble.
JG: It controls the purse strings. The person must have integrity, which means you always do the right thing even when nobody is looking. I believe a key obligation of the position is to maintain a cooperative and a reliable relationship with other departments, elected officials, citizens of Perkins Township.

Q: What have you done, or what will you do, to keep the public informed about Perkins Township’s business?
DS: Each department head is responsible to maintain their own (page) on the township’s website. I post the minutes after they are approved, the financial information, calendar, upcoming events and news articles.
JG: I was a manager at Erie MetroParks for 20 years. I have proven communication and problem-solving skills all while keeping the books accurate and up-to-date.

Q: The township’s chief building official, John Curtis, filed a grievance in the summer claiming Schaefer creates a hostile work environment. What are your thoughts on this situation and what improvements have been made to stop this problem?
DS: We discussed what appeared to be the problem. Bottom line, there were assumptions made by both parties. Both sides weren’t factual and we worked through those.

Q: This summer, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said it’s unethical that fiscal officers can collect taxpayer money beyond their slotted salary. From 1994 through June 2011, the township’s fiscal officer received a $20 stipend for assisting an independent building contractor to file fees. Even though Perkins Township stopped this process when trustees created the area’s first building department, what are your thoughts on this opinion?
DS: I wasn’t going to take it if I wasn’t permitted to. (Perkins Township) had nine audits since then. I believed that we all believe that this was a lawful expenditure and was not a cost to Perkins Township or its taxpayers.
JG: If in doubt, someone should have asked about this. There must have been some questions about this along the way somewhere. If (past fiscal officers collected the fees) it doesn’t make it right, but that is totally up to the attorney general.

Q: What are some challenges facing the future Perkins Township fiscal officer?
DS: We still want to get all of our records scanned. We’re in the process of updating our computer networking system.
JG: My priorities are to maintain proper records of township proceedings, including minutes from meetings. I want to build a cooperative relationship with township departments and elected officials, and I want to operate a professional, efficient and reliable department.

Q: Why do you know finances better, and why should voters ultimately select you on Election Day?
DS: I have spent over 40 years as a bookkeeper. I have a proven track record that I am capable of doing the job and I’m dedicated to the township.
JG: I have the knowledge of the daily operations for a government, and I have the proven communication and problem-solving skills needed.

Comments

Who Dat

I think Perkin's is blessed with (2) fine candidates. This will be a tough one!!!

thinktwice

Wait a second these look like the same person. Left..ater and right before a makeover. Right??

donutshopguy

 Have to give fiscal officer Schaefer credit for answering questions put forth to her on this blog. She doesn't hide behind a screen name. She answers them quickly and to the point. 

Wish other elected officials would be as open and accessible.

Diane Schaefer

I have always been my own person.  While I may listen to ALL sides, I make my own decisions after evaluating the input.  I think that is what makes me the ONLY CHOICE for this position.

I am confused by my opponent and her supporters.  She told one person she would contact me to see what was involved in my job, BUT NEVER DID.  When I decided to run in 2007 I spent months reviewing the records of the Township to see how things had changed or what was the same.  My opponent is relying on the words of others, some of whom did not like that I held them more accountable than in the past.  None of them know completely what my job entails.

Sorry that THINKTWICE thinks I need a makeover.  But what you see is what you get.  I am very basic, no makeup, no fancy clothes, low maintenance.  I judge people by their actions, not by their looks.

There are a couple of corrections in this article itself.  This will be my FOURTH term of office.  And I don't think I said the "both sides weren't factual".  What I remember saying was that both sides were at fault meaning that both John and I made mistakes and that we have worked through those misunderstandings.

Regarding my use of the blogs - I don't understand why others (my opponent for one) would not use them more.  Whether it is one person or thousand reading them, it is a way to communicate with the public.  As I have said before I am NOT A POLITICIAN.  I know no other way than the truth.  I do not have the same ANSWER for EVERY question.  I do not give the same speech almost word for word for every event.

FO is the Lifeblood - no, our employees and citizens are the lifeblood of the Township. 

FO controls the purse strings - NO WAY.  The Trustees are the ones that make the decisions of how to spend the money.  The FO only tells them if they have the money to spend.

As one department head said - If it is not broken, why try to fix it. 

At least with me you know what you are getting and I have proven I know what I am doing.  I am not one to sit back and let others do all my work.   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

Kimo

 

Re:very basic, no makeup, no fancy clothes, low maintenance

Better to have someone that shows up dressed and looking like they are ready to work than to have someone who shows up looking like they are ready to party.

; - )))

 

Centauri

The two separately sat down with the Register to answer pressing questions surrounding the position.
This was another meeting of the two candidates after the video debate?  Did the Register have separate Q&A sessions with the candidates so that neither candidate knew what the other candidate said or what the person or persons asked? Pressing questions?

@Diane and Jane   Is this what occurred?

@ Matt Westerhold      Why no coverage of the Perkins School Board candidates?

Diane Schaefer

Yes, we were asked the same questions separately.  Last year they did the same thing, but in a written format.  I would have preferred that so that I could have assured that there were no miss quotes.

I think the reason why there was no coverage for Perkins Schools is that there are 3 people running for 3 seats.  This plus the fact that the was only one person running for Trustee was the main reason the Fiscal Officer candidates were not invited to the Chamber's candidate nights.  This backs up my belief that since the FO does not make policy and/or the final decision, then the position is not political.

Centauri

Looking at the petition that former fire chief Myosky circulated, it appears that some who signed may be employed by the Perkins Fire Department. If so, did any of the firemen or employees under Myosky's command feel threathened or intimidated into signing Jane's petition? If so, it was a violation of Ohio's election law.

A) No person shall do any of the following:

5) Seek by intimidation or threats to influence any person to sign or refrain from signing such a petition, or from circulating or abstaining from circulating such a petition;  http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3599.13

 

Diane Schaefer

Regarding signs and petitions - just because a person has a signs a petition or has a sign in their yard does not always indicate how they are going to vote. 

Having said that I intentionally DID NOT ASK any employee to sign my petitions.  I feel that it a conflict of interest to do so and NOT THE PROPER THING TO DO.  It puts the employee in an akward situation especially if the other person wins.  Does the person who wins hold a GRUDGE against that person because they signed the other petition?

Now I am not that type of person, but I certainly know of and have heard stories of people that are.

Diane Schaefer

Question - Has ORC 3517.20 been violated by my opponent by failing to include a disclaimer on her ads on Channel 7 and on the flashing billboards at two of the local motels?

I only point this out because my opponent has claimed that she would check things out all the way to the top when asked if the building fees were legal.  What she does not realize is that I did check it out and AT THAT TIME there was no issue.  Since the AG opinion no fees have been paid on permits collected in-house since June 1. 

 

Diane Schaefer

Thank you Matt.

I have worked very hard to be the best Fiscal Officer possible. 

Centauri

@ Diane Schaefer,   Thank you on the behalf of the people in Perkins and Erie County in general.  I am a political activist for near and far candidates and issues. I fight mainly to keep government honest and transparent. I have yet to see other public officials who post comments online to inform the public the way that you do. I only wish that Evasive Jane would follow your example.  She evades all of my questions. I have problems with public officials who do not answer my questions or do not return my phone calls. If Jane were to be elected, she would fit right in there with the public officials who evade questions or do not return phone calls. Jane will not serve the residents the way that you do. Jane will be of service to the clique, only a few people with wealth and political power in the area.

One thing that I noticed about Jane is that she replies to all questions with the same or similar words. It is almost like she was programmed what to say. She reminds of the Chatty Cathy talking doll that spoke about  a dozen different phrases. I wonder who is pulling the chatty ring each time?

Listen to Chatty Jane say the same things over and over again in the video debate and also her written responses to questions.

I heard that Jane gave a campaign speech at the Republican Women's club. I can understand why you would not be invited for equal time since you have the support of the unions. What I don't understand is why the local Toastmasters club didn't invite you to speak yet Toastmasters invited Jane to speak and also invited visitors which to me means meeting open to the public. Toastmasters should have given you equal time. Elaine Waterfield wrote a letter in the local newspaper in support of Jane.

http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2011/09/19/living/neighborhood_news/mj5027245.txt  Toastmasters meeting: Firelands Toastmasters Club 391 will meet Tuesday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at St. Stephen United Church of Christ, 905 E Perkins Ave., Sandusky. Guest speaker is Jane Gildenmeister, candidate Perkins Township Fiscal Officer. Visitors are welcome. For more information, visit www.district10.org or contact Elaine Waterfield at 419-627-9623.

 

 

Centauri

Anybody see those flashy LED billboards in front of Ruta's two motels on 250? Ruta has been referred as "no tell hotel man" in the comments. Perhaps Ruta the Innkeeper might be more appropriate.

Ruta the inkeeper has political messages on those LED billboards. One is in support of Jane and voting YES to Issue 2.  Those political messages could be viewed as a campaign sign. Campaign signs are governed by zoning laws in where they are placed and the size of the sign.

I took a look at Perkins local zoning regulations as they relate to political signs. Are Ruta's LED signs in accordance to the local zoning laws? They appear much larger than 16 square feet. Did Ruta get a permit for political signs over 16 square feet?

http://www.perkinstownship.com/files/2009ZoningResolution.pdf 

28.9 Political Signs
No political sign shall be posted in any place or in any
manner that is destructive to public property upon posting
or removal. No political sign shall be posted in a public
right-of-way nor shall any such sign be posted on a utility
pole. Political signs not exceeding sixteen (16) square
feet shall be permitted for a period not more than thirty
(30) days before and five (5) days after an election.
Political signs and portable signs larger than sixteen (16)
square feet shall require a zoning permit before placement.

Diane Schaefer

Again thank you Matt for the vote of confidence.

My opponent talks about being co-operative with all.  I think this endorsement show that I also have the ability to co-operate.  But co-operation does not always equal agreement.  And disagreement does not mean I cannot co-operate. 

For example, the SR (Matt Westerhold) and I still disagree on some parts of the Public Records Act.  Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree and move on to other issues. 

 

Centauri

Next, I want to discuss Jane's numerous campaign signs on land owned by the "grave digger" as many in the comments section referred to him. I prefer to refer to Groff as the land baron since he is the owner of Karelly Properties, owner of many parcels in Erie County. http://erie.iviewtaxmaps.com/  Put in the name of "Karelly" in the quick search box. You will find 22 parcels.

Karelly was the owner of that 29 acres on Bell Avenue, the one that was sold at an inflated price to Perkins a few years ago. I have news archives about that land deal. This land was supposed to be used for the new Perkins Township Complex. How did that go? Perkins is still paying for that flood plain. How many of you own a lot in Perkins that is appraised for over $30,000?

Groff owns another parcel of 8 acres on Bell Avenue that is across from the ball diamonds. It is appraised at only $34,000 for low taxes. That is a little over $4000 per acre. Yet Groff sold that flood plain to Perkins for about $22,000 per acre or about $650,000.

All those Jane signs on Groff's parcels gives the illusion that Jane  has many supporters.  Jane's supporters are mostly the rich and powerful individuals such as Ruta, Groff, Schuster and others. These rich and powerful individuals have a lot to gain if Jane is elected.

When a certain group of rich and powerful people support a candidate, that candidate once elected will need to return some favors. This happened many times in Cuyahoga County.

Do not be fooled by the Sandusky Register's yellow journalism and the rich and powerful in Perkins. Perkins is made up of mostly the middle class people. Vote for Diane Schaefer who will serve all people in Perkins.

Centauri

I can't resist Ruta's LED billboards. McClung will be released from prison in a few months. Perhaps Ruta will have a "Welcome Home Tim" message for McClung on those LED billboards? Perhaps even have a big "Welcome Home Tim" party at the Comfort Inn with all of the McClung supporters in attendance?

 

Centauri

Diane Schaefer has received an endorsement from Matt Westerhold. Perhaps Matt finally saw through all the smoke and mirrors put out by the powers that be. The endorsement was in Sunday's Sandusky Register Opinion section on page D5. I will quote the endorsement by Matt.

Over the line

"If I lived over the border in Perkins Township, I'd cast my vote for Diane Schaefer in the township fiscal officer contest.  Schaefer has proved herself capable and tough enough to the challenge. She has worked to improve the systems of accounting as well as the function of government. She has survived the politics of others and mended fences where needed. Schaefer has been successful in her current term and showed she can take the heat while keeping her eye on the ball."

Jane Gildenmeister

I want to thank the people of Perkins Township for exercising their right to vote. And a special Thank You for your votes cast for me. I met many wonderful people while campaigning; I am proud and honored that you have elected me to serve our township and community.

I want to sincerely thank my campaign committee for their hard work and dedication. A big thank you to my friends and mentors who supported and guided me along the way. My heartfelt thanks to my husband Dan for his encouragement and belief in me.

I'm looking forward to fulfilling my campaign goals as your Fiscal Officer.

Thank you. - Jane