On Nov. 5, Orange Township voters will decide whether to keep Wesley Mayer as fiscal officer or turn over supervision of the township’s $22 million annual budget to his challenger, Lisa Kraft.
Mayer was appointed as fiscal officer September 2018 by the Orange Township Board of Trustees in 2-1 vote. Trustees Ryan Rivers and Lisa Knapp voted in favor of the appointment, with Trustee Debbie Taranto voting “no.” Mayer’s appointment came two days after Joel Spitzer vacated the seat.
“At that time, I found the fiscal office in complete disarray,” Mayer said. “I found there was an absence of effective policies, procedures, processes and systems. I have been working to turn things around for the past year. As the incumbent, I want to finish what I started, continuing the positive impact in our township.”
At this point in the process, Mayer said he feels that changing fiscal officers now wouldn’t be in the “best interests” of the township.
“I am the only candidate who has experience in serving as a township fiscal officer,” he said. “I have the training, the certifications, the credentials, and the knowledge necessary for this important position. I understand township governance, finance, and the importance of the role of fiscal officer.”
Mayer added even though trustees and the fiscal office are separate from one another, he believes they must work together “interdependently to do what is best” for Orange Township.
Mayer’s college experience shows he studied at The Ohio State University, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Hartford.
“After leaving OSU, I studied what I needed for the career I was in,” he said. “I have never had an issue with not having a four-year degree. My capabilities were all that ever mattered, and I was very successful. Even though I didn’t have that degree, I am very well educated and have tons of great experience.”
Mayer did attend and complete a certification in financial planning from the American College of Financial Services located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, which offers several professional certifications, two masters and a Ph.D. program.
Mayer voiced, along with completing more than 40 hours of continuing education, that he holds a certification from the Center for Public Investment Management. He stated that he is a member of the Ohio Township Association and Government Finance Officer Association.
Mayer said the township’s tax base is burdensome to the taxpayers. He said through careful planning and budget forecasting, along with working with regional partners and developers to pay their fair share on future commercial projects, he feels the tax base can be spread out to lighten the burden on residents.
To learn more about Mayer, visit https://www.facebook.com/MAYERFORORANGETWP/.
Kraft has lived in Orange Township for 17 years. She said she is an experienced financial and operations professional, a successful entrepreneur, and chief finacial officer.
“I earned my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The Ohio State University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Dayton,” she said. “I have managed all financial aspects of a business, including publishing financial statements, bank reconciliations, processing payroll, invoicing, accounts receivables, creating and managing budgets, developing financial forecasts and plans, and performing cost/benefit analyses.”
In addition, Kraft said she has passed numerous audits, including annual GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) audits, SSAE16 (Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16), IRS 1075 (Internal Revenue Service Publication 1075 providing guidance for government agencies accessing federal tax information), and audits by the State of Ohio Attorney General.
“I feel that my 25-plus years of professional experience make me uniquely qualified to contribute to our township, ensuring fiscal accountable and responsible financial management,” she said.
As an active volunteer in the community, Kraft said she has volunteered at Olentangy Local Schools and her church; led key initiatives in the township; and serves as co-president of the Freedom Trail Elementary School PTO, a member of the Parent Program Team, and as a member of the Attendance Boundaries Committee.
“This volunteer experience has only added to my passion for the community,” she said.
Kraft said as the township continues to rapidly grow and change, which is important for the local economy, it can put a strain on existing resources.
“It is imperative that a solid financial forecast of expense, short and long-term revenue is in place,” she said. “Orange Township has neither, and the township continues to have an issue with timely financial reporting and transparency, taking an average of 40 days after month end to report fund balances and publish bank reconciliations.
“These financial reports are also not publicly discussed in the monthly trustee meetings,” she added.
Kraft states as a former CFO and business owner, she has demonstrated her ability to successfully manage rapid growth by earning an award for the third fastest-growing company in Columbus.
“I will work collaboratively with the trustees to develop short- and long-term forecasts for the township,” she said. “Additionally, given my years of financial reporting experience, I will shorten the time to report month-end balances to less than 30 days, and publicly review the township’s financial position during monthly trustee meetings.”
To learn more about Kraft, visit https://www.facebook.com/LisaKraftOrangeTownship/.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.