GRANGER TWP. — The race for the township’s fiscal officer pits incumbent Donald Baker, who has a background in finance, against former attorney Brooks Rorapaugh.s
Both men have held other elected positions in Medina County and seek to fill the unexpired term of longtime fiscal officer Barbara Beach, who was re-elected in 2011. Her term runs through the end of 2015.
Baker, a former senior bank examiner, was appointed by township trustees in August to fill the seat vacated by Beach.
Baker served as a member of the Medina County Board of Elections as a representative for the county’s Democratic Party. He also served as a Wadsworth councilman for eight years before moving to Granger Township.
He and his wife, Carol, have one son.
Prior to his public service, Baker was a senior bank examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in Bath. He said that job gave him many tools that serve him as a financial officer.
“I helped analyze the finances of large and small banking institutions,” he said.
Baker, 52, of Meadow Oaks Trail, said he’s been interested in finances since he was 18 and, after leaving the FDIC, he worked for Charter One Bank helping to sell the bank before the financial collapse. From 1999 to 2005, he served as senior vice president of commercial/corporate loan service and internal asset review at the bank’s Cleveland offices.
“I was in charge of asset review and part of the management team that sold the bank,” Baker said.
In addition, Baker said he has experience with more basic financial functions like processing accounts payable, payroll and processing receipts.
He said he’s beginning to learn the ins and outs of the position and said the biggest issue the township faces is state cuts to local government funds.
“I think we always have to watch our funding,” he said.
Rorapaugh, 56, of Winterberry Lane, is a client adviser for BMW.
He previously served as a member of the Highland Board of Education for three years and also was chairman of the Highland Pride Foundation.
Rorapaugh and his wife, Kathleen, have four children who attended Highland schools.
He said he has an interest in the office because he enjoys public service. His background as an attorney (he’s now inactive in the state of Ohio) will serve him well, he said, in handling the day-to-day operations of the office, including serving as a liaison to other government entities.
“It’s taking minutes, issuing notices, doing budget work, performing as the human resources manager — all those functions I have a deep and substantial experience in,” he said.
Rorapaugh, a Republican, said he’s also seeking the office to give voters a choice. He said Baker was appointed by the trustees and by entering the race he’s allowing voters to have a say in who represents them.
“Had I not filed to run for this position, the trustees’ choice would have constituted the decision for this race,” he said.
Of Baker’s service as treasurer for the Medina County Democratic Party, Rorapaugh said: “While I respect his commitment to the process, I’m concerned it does lend itself to the influence of partisan politics in our government.”
Baker called Rorapaugh’s concern “sad” and said the trustees carefully screened candidates before selecting him for the position. He added they have endorsed him in the race.
“Good government knows no party and I am committed to working with the trustees to ensure Granger residents have the best operating government possible,” Baker said.
The race for fiscal officer is nonpartisan.
Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.