Charleston County will have a new auditor for the first time since 1992, and the candidates seeking the post have different ideas about how to run the office.
Paul Gawrych, a Republican, and former Mount Pleasant town councilman, faces Peter Tecklenburg, a Democrat and former transit planner, in Tuesday’s contest.
The auditor is a full-time job that pays about $90,000 a year. Duties include calculating property tax rates and mailing bills.
Gawrych defeated five-term incumbent Peggy Moseley in the June primary.
If elected, Gawrych said he first would meet with the staff. “We’re going to find out who’s on board and who is not on board to change the way things have been happening with the Auditor’s Office,” he said,
He said he also would emphasize cross-training employees so there’s no job that only one employee can perform.
Tecklenburg said he would refocus the office on hard work and customer service, on spotting places where tax bills have fallen through the cracks and instructing his staff on the complex issue of heirs property, where a piece of land is owned by multiple family members.
The two candidates have different professional backgrounds.
Tecklenburg, 32, resigned his job as a transit planner to run for auditor, in part to avoid any Hatch Act questions over whether he was a federal employee running for partisan office (his salary was not paid with federal dollars), and to concentrate on the race full time.
Gawrych, 49, runs a contracting company that does road work and said he would talk with his business partners about his future there if he wins. Regardless, he said he would be fully committed to fulfilling his oath of office. “Nothing else will interfere with that.”
The candidates also have disagreed on Gawrych’s numerous campaign signs that say “Higher Standards, Lower Taxes.”
Tecklenburg said the auditor cannot raise or lower taxes — that’s up to County Council, the school board and cities and towns.
The winner takes office when the county’s new fiscal year begins July 1, 2013.
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