Democratic incumbent Georgette Williams and Republican challenger Pat Boyle are in a battle to prove who can be the most open government proponent within the office of Kent County comptroller.
Williams is asking voters to re-elect her as Kent County comptroller based on her years of experience working in the office while Boyle believes that more can be done with this relatively obscure political office.
Williams said she was asked to run for this office in 2008 because she had served as deputy comptroller for William Torbert and Kathleen Koch and had served as deputy receiver of taxes for Laura Belle Wilson.
Boyle said he was running because Kent County residents deserved to better know how their money was spent and to make sure it was spent responsibly.
For those who did not know, Williams and Boyle were asked to describe what the Kent County comptroller did.
The comptroller audits all accounts for Kent County Levy Court and all the row offices and reviews financial records of public agencies that receive appropriations from the county, said Williams, 68, a Wyoming town councilwoman.
"After reviewing all invoices for correctness, the comptroller countersigns all warrants drawn for payment," she said. "The office also keeps a record of all deposits and disbursements, reconciles bank statements and transfers funds within accounts."
The comptroller is the only county official that oversees taxpayer money and does not work for Levy Court, said Boyle, 27, a computer engineer at Gnostech Inc. The comptroller reviews county spending and policies regarding spending and reviews community organizations receiving county funds.
"The Comptroller should answer directly to the people, and I pledge to do just that," he said. "Levy Court funds don't come from government, but come from the hard-working people of Kent County; every dollar should be treated with respect. I will make the Comptroller's office fully transparent and accountable. If there are any issues, I will hold the politicians accountable to the taxpayer."
Williams, for her part, gained notoriety in 2010 when she filed a Freedom of Information Act request for employee salaries from the Camden-Wyoming Sewer &Water Authority in her capacity as the Wyoming treasurer. CWSWA balked at the request and claimed it was private entity exempt from FIOA. Attorney General Beau Biden then filed against the authority last summer and has awaited a court decision since.
When asked if anything could be done differently with the comptroller's office,
Williams said the responsibilities of this office were fairly routine and open for all to view.
"My office is the watchdog of county funds," she said. "We are open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily and encourage constituents to call or visit with any questions or concerns about the county finances. Kent County holds public hearings and many workshops prior to adopting the budget. These meetings are open to the public and the budget is always available for review."
Page 2 of 2 - Boyle, on the other hand, pledged to make the office more accessible. That included modernizing the website so that it was no longer "under construction" for residents that needed answers.
"The changes that are necessary to provide openness, fairness and easily found answers are not costly," he said. "I will improve the office systems through my own systems engineer experience if necessary. The citizens' money, and how it's spent, is too important to keep the system the way it is now. The citizen taxpayers need answers, and I will do everything in my power to provide answers and to protect the citizens' money."
As for whether Democrats or Republicans had the edge in this election, Boyle and Williams both said that was not a concern.
"I think voters reward people for having good ideas and a real work ethic," Boyle said.
"The voters have the edge," Williams said. "They are the ones to make the decision."