Home Social Justice Kathy Hecht talks about her time as City Auditor

Kathy Hecht talks about her time as City Auditor

8 min read
0
0
558

After a decade of serving as the Athens City Auditor, Kathy Hecht (D) is determined to take her skills county-wide. The 35-year resident of Athens is currently running against incumbent Jill Thompson (R) for Athens County Auditor this November.

Before becoming City Auditor in 2004, Hecht served on City Council for two years. Hecht has long believed in the power of an elected official to improve and assist the lives of those whom they serve.

“I like what I do. I take my job seriously. As a taxpayer myself, I try to be very careful with taxpayer funds,” said Hecht.

When asked why she is contesting the position, Hecht expressed her dissatisfaction with the way business is facilitated between different sectors of local government. Namely, she believes high profile issues, like expenses related to the Sheriff’s Office, could have been prevented with more dialogue.

“There needs to be a better working relationship,” Hecht said. “The communication and cooperation needs to be there so these things don’t happen in the first place.”

She rejects the notion that citizens have been able to rely on a watchdog at the county level, stating that issues are being caught “after the fact.”

In her current role as City Auditor, Hecht is primarily responsible for supervising various entities such as the Income Tax Department and Athens City payroll in addition to monitoring revenue that is managed within the city.

The two candidates recently participated in a debate hosted by the Athens County League of Voters. Hecht believes events like these have been helpful for voters in getting to know her.

Hecht acknowledged, having only served the municipality, she does not have as many connections in neighboring Athens County towns and villages. Her campaign strategy is designed to change that.

In addition to knocking on doors, Hecht has held meet-and-greet events in places like Nelsonville.

Other notable campaign events have included a recent fundraiser, at which Hecht was endorsed by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. She said she recalled a high turnout and the night was very successful. Hecht said that although there are no plans for any future fundraisers at this point, she is excited about an upcoming Democratic Party dinner on Thursday, Oct. 16, that will allow her to further connect with her base.

Speaking about her time in office, Hecht says she is confident in her abilities to take her skills to a larger population.

“I don’t have an issue with transparency. I’ve worked really hard to improve our audits since I started,” Hecht said adding that her audits have been formally recognized by the state. “And it seems to have paid off.”

Like Thompson, Hecht has placed a lot of emphasis on technological advancements in her office. Additionally, Hecht touted education as a cornerstone of her leadership style.

Since 2004, Hecht has said that software upgrades, a good presence on the city website and web-available tax forms have all contributed to keeping the City Auditor’s Office in the twenty-first century.

“That should be a continuing process for any office this day and age. By doing that, I’ve reduced our staffing here and saved the city a lot of money,” she said, describing the movement to automation.

With regard to education, Hecht expressed a clear desire to make it known among her staff what is expected of them.

“We have all these fiscal officers for townships and villages all over the county who work on their own. And they need help and guidance sometimes and I would like to educate and assist them so when they do their bookkeeping, they know how it should be.”

Hecht thinks teaching is so important to her line of work because an auditor’s office answers to bodies like the IRS and Auditor of State, and rules can change quite often. In this aspect, Hecht believes she is leading by example.

“I go to conferences. I’ve been president of the Municipal Finance Officers Association. I’m very involved. I’d like to help other people who are handling funds for the county learn what they should and shouldn’t be doing,” Hecht said.

“The other main thing I’ve done is put policies and procedures in place so that everybody knows what’s required of them. And then when somebody new comes in, they know the process and what they’re supposed to do. I’ve worked with different departments, the mayor’s office and council to put policies in.”

Overall, she wants voters to know she is passionate about the community which she serves.

“I love Athens. I’ve been active in all kinds of groups throughout the years, and I still am because I love it here. And I’m committed to improving life here.”

Load More Related Articles
Load More By The New Political

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Podcast: Athens Happens – A look at declining parking meter enforcement

Athens Happens is a weekly news podcast brought to you by TNP reporters dedicated to expla…