LISBON - The race for Columbiana County recorder features two candidates- Republican Theresa Bosel and Democrat Brenda Dickey Myers - who boast of business backgrounds they say give them the necessary experience to run the office.
Bosel, of Lisbon, is making her first run for public office, while Myers ran for county commissioner in 2008, losing to Republican Jim Hoppel. Myers, who is from Salem, won the Democratic nomination in March by defeating incumbent Recorder Craig Brown.
Bosel, 41, has worked for about 15 years in sales and marketing for several businesses. She worked most recently as director of marketing and public relations for The Orchards at Foxcrest in Chester, W.Va., and now helps run her husband's wood-cutting business. Bosel has also worked a stint as a police officer when she was younger and is a graduate of the Ohio Police Academy and Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy.
Myers, 56, has been a radiologic technologist, farmer and more recently an administrator/sales representative for 21st Century Alarm/Data in Salem. A licensed esthetician, she also operates a spa in Salem - B's Wax & Body Shop in McLaughlin's Salon.
Both said one of their chief goals is to restore credibility to the office following the recent turmoil surrounding how the recorder responded to the avalanche of shale gas leases and the controversy over Brown's alleged improper comments to a former employee.
Neither has any specific plans for the office, and both said they would meet with recorder's staff to determine what needs to be done. Bosel said she has already done that and found the staff to be "frustrated" with the equipment and lack of willingness on Brown's part to accept their suggestions to improve operations.
"I have no plans, but I'd like to sit down with the staff and have a detailed conversation. They have some needs, and I'd like to try to meet those needs," she said.
To learn more about the office, Bosel said she has met with Brown and also intends to meet with the Carroll County recorder. She has also begun trying to familiarize herself with the software programs recorders use to do their job.
Bosel said the only person who really has the training for the job is the recorder and his staff, "but I'm a quick learner, I'm intelligent and I'm ready to hit the ground running."
Brown laid off an employee in September due to insufficient funding, reducing his staff to three. Bosel would work to ensure she has enough funding to maintain a staff of four workers, which she said is the minimum needed to properly operate.
"They're borrowing staples from the commissioners and auditor's office. That's unacceptable. You have to be able to come in and manage the office and budget," she said.
She considers being able to work well with others one of her strongest attributes. "I play well with others. I understand my ego shouldn't be so big that I'm unable to come to the table and work with whoever is on the other side," Bosel said.
As far as addressing the backlog of leases needing to be recorded, Bosel acknowledged Brown has taken several steps in an attempt to address the problem by placing certain records online and digitalizing others.
"If it's a good idea and going to save the taxpayers of Columbiana County money, I'm open to all ideas," she said.
Bosel indicated she also intends to be a "working recorder" in the sense she will pitch in to help the staff with their duties, despite a union contract that prohibits management from performing work that is to be done by rank-and-file employees.
She said it was county Commissioner Mike Halleck who approached her about running for the job, and, after much thought, she agreed. "Make no mistake I am my own person. I'm nobody's puppet, and the people in my party have been made aware of that, and they're comfortable with that," Bosel said.
Myers also plans to meet with staff to seek their input on possible improvements, especially on how to deal with the gas-related title searchers.
"I will fix what needs to be fixed in there and restore some professionalism in there and employee confidence and pride in what they do," she said.
A genealogy buff, Myers said "to me those records are the history of our county sitting in those books, and that has to be taken care of. There has to be a stewardship of those records."
Like Bosel, Myers also intends to be a working recorder. "I will be at work everyday. That is paramount," she said.
Upon taking office, Myers would do an inventory of all records to ensure all are accounted for because of the title search activity and relocation of some records to another building to alleviate overcrowding at the courthouse.
"I need to know that everything is as it should be, that we haven't lost anything in the move, nothing has been destroyed, and that the employees can find those records when they need to," she said.
Myers would also work to secure an appropriate level of funding, "and that means working with commissioners, the auditor, and everyone else in the courthouse."
In addition to seeking suggestions from staff, she intends to review all of the equipment and software leases to determine if they are getting the best deal.
Myers believes her varied business experience makes her the better choice for the job, noting all of her jobs have required her to maintain various records in a proper manner.
When asked if she had been approached by the Democratic Party to run for recorder, Myers said she had been thinking about it because of all of the turmoil. "I thought it was just the right thing to do" to restore integrity to the office, she said.
The recorder position pays $57,232.