City candidates tout experience, willingness to earn public's trust (published Oct. 22)

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By Janet Robb

TELL CITY – Two new faces grace the political field in the Nov. 6 election for a new Tell City clerk-treasurer. Lifelong Tell City residents and candidates Democrat Jenny Richter and Republican Barbara Parker Steen are competing for the office left open by current Clerk-Treasurer Barbara Ewing as she seeks the office of mayor.

Perry County News Editor Vince Luecke asked the candidates questions Thursday about what makes them the best choice for the office during a political forum hosted by The News and the Perry County Chamber of Commerce at the Schergens Center.

Opening Remarks

“As chief deputy treasurer for Perry County since 2002, I have learned a lot about the county’s tax structure and fiscal management,” Richter said during opening remarks. “I’m also familiar with the state governing boards, Department of Local Government Finance and State Board of Accounts.”

Previously she sold real estate, was an office manager, director of development services and special events at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and has 15 years of experience in the banking industry in various positions.

A member of the St. Paul Catholic Church parish council, she’s also involved with Tell City Kiwanis and was a charter member of Women of the Moose.

“Through these experiences I have established leadership skills that have enabled me to listen, to plan, budget, manage and prioritize projects,” she told the audience. “If elected, I will run an efficient, cost-saving office providing exceptional services to the mayor, to the council and to the citizens of this community with the utmost integrity and professionalism. I have the qualifications to perform the duties of this office and I would be honored to be elected the next clerk treasurer of this office.”

Steen cited her 19 years with General Electric in various positions, including purchasing, accounts payable and customer service and almost three years of banking experience as her qualifications.

“I have learned in order to be progressive and productive we must always strive to look for ways to improve processes and systems,” she said, adding she can operate the office with greater efficiency because of new software and technological advances.

“My goal over the next four years, if elected, is to get the clerk-treasurer’s office out of the 1980s and into the 21st century so we can accurately forecast how to properly invest your tax payer dollars to achieve prosperity,” Steen said.

Both candidates said they researched the position they are seeking and noted duties they would be responsible for, including payroll, investments, administrative duties and keeping the minutes of council meetings.

Steen said she feels her experience with GE and banking gives her “the knowledge and skills to add to the growth and success of Tell City.”

Working With Others

“The 15 years that I’ve spent in the banking industry were as branch manager and required supervising banking staff and branches,” Richter said, adding she oversaw programs at Saint Meinrad Archabbey, including budgets, and believes the leadership she has acquired will transfer well into the clerk-treasurer’s office.

When asked about working with the city’s mayor and council, Richter said she would be part of a unified team working for the community’s needs.

She also noted she plans, if elected, to meet with all department heads and look at their responsibilities to make sure “we are in step with each other so that we will work together.”

Steen echoed the sentiment that the mayor, council and clerk-treasurer must work as a team for the betterment of Tell City and must improve processes to be more productive.

“As I stated earlier, I feel that its important that if you want your city to thrive and succeed, you need to work together as a team,” she said, adding between the communication skills of herself, the mayor and council members, she doesn’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be able to resolve issues.

Best of Tell City

The last question posed to candidates was what they feel are the city’s greatest characteristics. “Our community and heritage,” Richter answered. “We have a beautiful city to live in and we should be proud. I think with proven leadership moving forward we can make it all that it can be.”

It’s a small community, Steen added. “It’s a safe place to raise your children,” she said. “We also have access to the Ohio River and county and city parks. I feel it’s an advantage to anyone who would like to move to the area.”