Two candidates, Janice White and Joyce Neal, are running for Clarke County Auditor in the upcoming Nov. 6 election.
Current Clarke County Auditor Judy Church is retiring at the end of this year having served the county as auditor for the past 12 years.
White, 57, and Neal, 59, were given the opportunity to answer the same questions.
Background : My name is Janice M. White. I am a lifelong resident of Clarke County. I am currently first deputy auditor for Clarke County having served as deputy auditor for 12 years.
Why are you running for county auditor? With the retirement of current Auditor Judy Church, and the election of one new supervisor, and possibly two, the county will benefit from the experience I can bring to this position. I have enjoyed working in the auditor’s office serving the public and would like to continue.
As county auditor, what will some of your job priorities be? My first priority will be to provide a smooth transition while providing the professional service the public deserves. I plan on running the office in an efficient manner while carrying out the numerous duties required by the Code of Iowa.
Why are you a good candidate for this job? As first deputy, it is my responsibility to fulfill the auditor’s duties in her absence. I understand the duties of the auditor’s office and have the knowledge necessary to provide efficient, professional and friendly service to the residents of Clarke County.
Anything else you’d like to add? The duties of the auditor’s office are complex with possible financial consequences to the county if mistakes are made. These duties affect all other departments and taxing entities of Clarke County, as well as the residents of Clarke County. Even though it is not a policy-making office, the auditor is in charge of compiling and monitoring many financial documents, as well as conducting all county elections and maintaining county real-estate records. My experience and professional manner will be a great asset to Clarke County. I am very dedicated to Clarke County, and I am willing to apply the time needed to fulfill the duties of County Auditor.
Background: I have lived in Osceola since 1968 when my dad and mom, Pastor George Neal and Marjorie Neal, moved here because Dad was asked to come and pastor the Calvary Baptist Church. I was gone for about nine years while I went to school in 1971, after graduating from Clarke Community High School, then worked for about five years in Grand Rapids, Mich. I moved back to Osceola from Grand Rapids in 1980, and have lived and worked here since then. I am working at Clarke Electric Cooperative, where I have been for almost 23 years.
Why are you running for county auditor? I am running for auditor because I want to bring my 32 years of experience in business to that office to serve the people of Clarke County. I want to be a good "watch-dog" of our tax dollars, and bring a fresh look at the position to ensure things are done as efficiently and effectively as possible with no wasting of our money. So often when things have been done the same way for so many years, new eyes looking at things can see things that can be changed or made better. I want to serve the people of Clarke County, and put to good use the things I have learned during my career.
As the county auditor, what will some of your job priorities be? First and foremost would be to be a good steward with the people's money. My desire is to make sure money is not wasted, and that we adhere to the budget the supervisors set with close attention to not spending money where it's not needed, but instead, making sure it is spent wisely and responsibly. Everything in county government flows through the auditor's office, and so, the auditor has a tremendous amount of influence with each office and the supervisors, as the budget and policies are decided. I want to use that influence to do what is right and best for the entire county.
I also want to establish a good working relationship with the Auditor's Association and bring this county into that organization. There is a wealth of information that we could be drawing from, and and also working with them to lobby the legislature.
Why are you a good candidate for this job? I bring 32 years of experience to the job, and have the leadership ability to make good decisions that will be the best for the county as a whole. My experience, even if not in that particular office before, has given me a sense of good ways to manage and make good, common-sense decisions. I also have not been entrenched in the way things have always been done in the office, so I have the ability to come in with new eyes to see things that can be done differently and more efficiently, or eliminated if it is not necessary and just wasteful. I also have the ability to work with other officials as a part of an overall team.
Anything else you'd like to add? This campaign is not about me or my opponent. It's about the position of an elected official who needs to be open, honest and transparent with the people of the county — both in the city and county equally — and make good decisions that will be the best for the people overall. I can and will do that as your auditor, and would count it a privilege to serve you. I appreciate your support and am asking for your vote.