GOP seeking candidates for open Butler County treasurer post

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

Now that new Butler County Auditor Nancy Nix has been sworn into office, the county Republican Party is soliciting applications for her replacement as county treasurer and three people so far want the job.

Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Jennifer Muench-McElfresh swore Nix into office on Monday, as well as interim Treasurer Lori Sullivan, who has been Nix’s chief deputy. Sullivan will move with Nix to the auditor’s office in the same capacity after a new treasurer is selected by the GOP Central Committee.

The GOP chose Nix to take over for former auditor Roger Reynolds who was convicted in December on one felony count for unlawful interest in a public contract involving the Lakota Schools. Nix told the Journal-News she wants to restore the public’s trust in the chief county financial office.

“Trust is a huge thing for me,” Nix said. “I want them to know that we will answer the phones and their properties will be appraised fairly, and that when we say this is what’s going on, that they know that’s the truth. I think it’s honesty, transparency and outreach, those are the basic goals for my time in this office.”

Central Committee Chairman Chris Wunnenberg has announced they will be accepting applications for the open treasurer’s position until Feb. 20, the screening committee will interview the candidates on Feb. 22 and the Central Committee will choose Nix’s successor on March 2.

So far Nix’s former chief deputy Mike McNamara and Fairfield Twp. Fiscal Officer Shelly Schultz — Nix contracted with her on a couple occasions for the treasurer’s office — have applied for the job. West Chester Twp. Fiscal Officer Bruce Jones hasn’t applied yet but said he will. He lost to Nix by a 127 to 49 margin or 72% of the Central Committee members who cast votes Feb. 2 for auditor.

Jones has been the county’s largest township’s fiscal officer for more than a decade and has spent 14 years as a licensed Realtor. Jones was elected as the township fiscal officer in 2011, 2015 and 2019. He grew up in Hamilton, went to Miami University and has also lived in Fairfield.

“I’ve received a lot of encouragement, I mean a lot,” Jones said after the loss to Nix. “I have a track record of successful, excellence in financial bookkeeping, as well as a watchdog and I think that would make for a very healthy professional relationship between me and our new auditor.”

The treasurer’s chief role is as the county tax collector, banker, oversees the investment of about $500 million and chairs the land bank, to name a few responsibilities.

McNamara wore a number of hats with the county before he left in August 2020 to become Clermont County’s development director.

“I worked for the state treasurer for three to four years and then was chief deputy in the treasurer’s office with Nancy for five years and we did a lot of great things together,” McNamara said about wanting the job. “I really enjoy that office, what it does, the people that are in it, that’s where we started the land bank and I’d like to see where we can take it into the future.”

McNamara started his career with the county in the Clerk of Courts Office in 1998; was chief deputy for Nix from 2010 to 2015. He moved to the development department in 2015 serving as the executive director for both the Port Authority and the Land Bank.

He has a master’s degree in public administration and says he has experience in government finance from all his various positions. He now runs an office of about 30 people in Clermont County.

“When you’re looking at a substantial background to run this particular office I’m the only person that has managed hundreds of millions of dollars in collections, multiple special use funds as well as a general fund budget,” he said adding he also has managed a large staff.

Schultz has been a Certified Public Accountant for 21 years and one of only 146 certified government financial managers in Ohio, and a certified payroll professional. She has been the township’s fiscal officer since 2017 and also works as a self employed CPA and accountant handling payroll, accounting and tax needs for clients at multiple CPA firms.

Nix hired her to reclassify records for the land bank and create numerous accounting reports. She also worked with Nix training her staff and helping the office switch over to a new accounting software system.

“I’ve had a lot of work with her staff and I worked great with them,” she said. “I got to see what they do every day and I feel like I could bring a positive impact to them.”

She said she is not a political person but believes her credentials will speak for themselves.

“I have loved government since I’ve been in it and I feel like my expertise have done amazing things for Fairfield Twp. and I want to bring that countywide,” she said. “I think I’m very qualified for the position as opposed to people that just get it sometimes that aren’t qualified because they’re popular. A lot of people don’t know me so I might have a hard time getting it but I feel I’m the most qualified.”

How to apply

People interested in applying for the position should contact the Butler County Republican Party at 4347 A Roosevelt Blvd., Middletown, phone (513) 893-5292. A resume and a completed background report authorization form plus $200 application fee are required.

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