Republican Corey Johnson and Democrat Miranda Miser will face off for the seat of Guernsey County Auditor next month, after current auditor Tony Brown opted out of running. It is the only contested race in the November 8 ballot for local residents. Daniel G. Padden for Guernsey County Court of Common Pleas Judge and Dave Wilson for Guernsey County Commissioner run in uncontested races.
Johnson was born and raised in Cambridge and has resided in the county of Guernsey for 42 years. He graduated from Cambridge High School in 1999 and with honors from Kent State University in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in business management. He is an Assistant Auditor in the Guernsey County Auditor’s Office and an active member of Cambridge Rotary. Johnson worked in accounting and finance in the construction equipment industry for 16 years. For the past four years, he has served as Director of Retail Finance.
Why are you applying for this particular position?
My mother, Suellen Johnson, was elected as the City of Cambridge for more than half of my life. Over the years I was able to watch and learn from her and I knew that running for office was something I was really interested in one day. After a discussion last winter with current auditor Tony Brown, I quickly realized that this was the opportunity I had been waiting for.
The county auditor’s office has a wide variety of responsibilities under its roof. Paying the many bills incurred by each department in the county, assessing all real estate in the county, and distributing your taxes to the various towns, villages, townships, and schools in the county is done at the auditor’s office. Preparing and distributing county employee payroll, testing and sealing all gas pumps and scales, maintaining CAUV and other tax credits, as well as licensing dogs, vendors and more are also duties of the county auditor. I really enjoy the challenges that this very wide range of tasks presents.
What are one or two major objectives that you would have for the coming mandate?
Knowing many processes in the office, I would like to streamline and simplify some of them to maximize efficiency. For example, there are multiple steps with up to six people involved when it comes to paying a single bill. On average, approximately 1,250 checks are issued each month.
From the service person filling out the purchase order, to the multiple signatures required for approval, to the actual printing of the check, every invoice goes through a cycle of several days before being paid. I think making this process electronic would significantly reduce total processing time, maximize employee time, and reduce paper and printer costs.
The Auditor’s Office has a great website full of information, resources and forms. I would like to be sure that it is used to its fullest potential by the office as well as by the citizens of Guernsey County. I want to make sure that all the latest forms and applications are always available for quick download, and that all maps and tools are up to date and easy to use.
Additionally, I want to make sure the citizens of Guernsey County are aware that everything from a CAUV application to a dog license to seeing where every penny of their property tax is going is available online. Stopping by the office for something isn’t always the most convenient option. So I want to make sure citizens are aware that they can not only call, but also use the website to get exactly what they need.
Being a county auditor comes with great fiscal responsibility. These are just a few ways I would like to make sure that we maximize the use of the taxpayers’ money that we receive. With the seemingly endless price increases of everything today, I understand that every dollar matters. I want the Guernsey County Auditor’s Office to be able to serve the citizens and taxpayers of Guernsey County in a variety of ways and to the best of our abilities, without having to seek additional funds from you to do so.
OWhat are one or two things about your background that you think will benefit you and the people if elected?
Having a background in numbers, I am very comfortable with the large amount of accounting tasks that take place in the office. Having family in public service for much of my life has shown me what it takes to be a good public servant. I love going to work every day and working with all of my wonderful colleagues. Most importantly, I was raised to be responsible, sensible, and proud of my work. If I am elected to be your next Guernsey County Auditor, I will make sure I do the job to the best of my ability every day.
Miranda Miser is a lifelong Guernsey County resident and campaigner. Miser grew up on a 150-acre cow-calf operation in Cumberland. She graduated from Meadowbrook High School with an honors degree and attended Ohio State University in Columbus. While there, Miser earned two bachelor’s degrees in Agricultural Communication and Agribusiness and Applied Economics. She was named one of the top 20 seniors in the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
After graduating, Miser returned to County Guernsey and began working full-time in the family business, M&M Feed and Supply. Since becoming operations manager, the business has grown to three stores. In his role, Miser oversees employees, orders, marketing, customer service, and more.
Miser has always valued community involvement. She is currently Chair of the Guernsey County Farm Bureau, sits on the Board of the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce, is Chair of Meadowbrook FFA Alumni, is the Organizational Volunteer of Cumberland Valley Kids 4-H and Chair of the scholarships for Guernsey Noble. Business and professional women. She was the recipient of the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Leader BREW Award in 2020 and the State’s BPW Young Career Winner in 2018.
She married her husband, William Thompson in September 2021.
Why are you applying for this particular position?
The Guernsey County Auditor touches our lives in so many ways, from dog licenses to inspecting our gas pumps. The Auditor’s greatest impact is assessing property taxes and sending taxpayer dollars to our cities, towns, townships, and school districts. I’m running because I want to bring accountability and transparency to the office. Residents need to know more about what the office does, how we can work better for our local communities and what to do if difficulties arise.
As county chief financial officer, I will not let party politics play a role in my office. The Auditor is elected to enforce the rules and regulations of the State of Ohio and there is nothing partisan about this role. I will work with Democrats, Republicans, Independents and more for the good of our county. At the end of the day, we have to put Guernsey County first, and that’s exactly what I will do.
What are one or two major objectives that you would have for your upcoming mandate?
As the owner of M&M Feed, I know customer service is the key to success. I want the Auditor’s Office to be accessible to everyone in Guernsey County. I will set up office hours throughout the county at libraries, town halls and fire departments, and wherever we can, at times when workers can come.
I want to make sure we are accessible so people can ask questions and voice concerns without jeopardizing their pay. It is essential that we as residents of Guernsey County have a voice in our county government. I also want to bring the refocusing of the service within the walls of the auditor’s office. As a boss, I know that office culture starts at the top. I am dedicated to serving constituents and ensuring that our office helps taxpayers. I want to ensure that our staff are cross-trained in different areas of our service so that tasks are completed in a timely manner. Finally, I will ensure that the property taxes are correctly assessed. If there is a problem, our office will work hard to resolve it or provide resources to find a solution.
What are one or two things about your journey that you think will serve you and the people if elected?
I’m proud to have the support of the AFL-CIO and the United Mine Workers of America, a union that helped my grandparents realize the American dream and buy the family farm. From an early age, I learned the value of hard work and dedication. As a small business owner, I understand the importance of customer service and that ultimately the responsibility lies with me. I know how important budgeting and allocation of funds is. I know how to manage employees and ensure tasks are completed in a timely and efficient manner. I know how to respectfully disagree with people who have different points of view and not let politics control my actions. I volunteer because serving my community and understanding the challenges it faces is essential to being a public servant. This is what the auditor should be: a public servant for the people of the county of Guernsey.