Liberty Township voters will make a decision Nov. 5 between incumbent Nancy Denutte or her opponent, Rick Karr, in the race for fiscal officer.
• Denutte said under her guidance as fiscal officer over the past four years, Liberty Township is in the “best financial health it has ever been.”
“This financial health has happened over the past few years under my watch,” she said. “I have been solely responsible for the budgets … Great measures have been taken to collect misappropriated funds which were a result of violated statutes that I identified and corrected.”
Denutte said all processes in the fiscal office have been streamlined and digitized — including records, meeting minutes, contracts and other official documents — to create easy access and a simple system of checks and balances for invoices, approvals and payments.
“We have also improved the payroll system so that supervisors can better manage their budgets and staff,” she said. “After I caught a fraudulent check for $134,000, I implemented positive pay with the bank to ensure no one could further create fraudulent checks.
“All of these efficiencies, improvements, and repairs have saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars,” she added.
Denutte said she feels she is the best-qualified candidate due to her background in finance and the four years of experience as fiscal officer. She said she has spent many hours educating herself about government finance and the statewide accounting system, allowing her to identify opportunities to improve and streamline the fiscal office processes and policies.
“My understanding of the legal requirements that govern our finances has protected the township and the taxpayer from expensive liabilities,” she said. “I take great pride in providing the Liberty Township Board of Trustees with accurate, credible numbers. I am an advocate for complete government transparency. I am committed to continuing to increase revenue through means other than tax dollars and to continue to save tax dollars and eliminate waste.”
Denutte added she is the president and chief executive officer of Action Group, Inc., where she has spent the past 30 years working side-by-side with her husband, who passed away a year ago. Her roles within the family business include handling the financial, human resources, and legal aspects of a company employing 45 people and continuing to grow.
Denutte said she holds a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University and has lived in Liberty Township for 27 years.
To learn more about Denutte, visit https://www.facebook.com/Denutteforfiscal/.
• Karr said he has been attending trustees meetings on and off over the years, but when talk began of changing the fire-based EMS (emergency medical services) model, his attendance become more regular.
“At these meetings, Trustee (Melanie) Leneghan’s leadership, the complete disregard for our residents’ basic right to free speech and the desire to silence any dissenting opinion and watching the current fiscal officer do nothing to advise the trustees on the financial impacts, I have been both embarrassed and outraged,” he said.
Karr believes it’s vital to both the township and the City of Powell to keep local control of the fire-based EMS in order to provide the best service to the residents. “I believe with the right planning, we can have the most efficient fire-based EMS model to support the needs of Liberty and Powell.”
Karr said he recently identified a significant cyber-security risk when the township’s bank account numbers were published on the “township’s website by our fiscal office.”
“A significant effort is needed to bring a higher level of attention to detail, a deeper financial experience and planning to the township’s fiscal office operation,” he said. “This includes a focus on a competitive bidding process to generate the best value for taxpayers, establishing controls to minimize information security risks, improving transparency and access to records, and working with the City of Powell.”
According to Karr, he has over 30 years in business planning with eight of the years working with Microsoft, where he acquired a strong knowledge of planning and execution of information systems and document controls. He has been recognized in Columbus Business First, Columbus CEO, and Fortune SBM magazines for extensive budgeting, project management, and business planning skills. He said he is endorsed by Liberty Township Trustee Shyra Eichhorn, Delaware County Commissioner Barb Lewis, Genoa Township Fiscal Officer Pat Meyer, the Pro Powell Pac of area business leaders, and the Liberty Township Professional Fire Fighters IAFF Local 3754.
Karr said he is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration, certified by the Project Management Institute as a Project Management Professional (P.M.P.) and received a Certificate of Medical Device Product Development from the University of California, Irvine. He moved to Liberty Township in 1997.
“With my business experience, I will provide the trustees with the financial data needed so they can do their jobs effectively on behalf of the residents,” he said.
To learn more about Karr go to https://www.facebook.com/RickKarrLTFO/.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.