Auditor candidates want to continue mapping system

Joanne Bello

Both Michele Bogo and Janet Esposito will be running unopposed in the May primary election for county auditor.

The winner of the November general election will serve from March 2007 until March 2011.

The Republican candidate, Esposito, has held the auditor position since 1995 and is running in her sixth election. She currently makes about $71,000 per year as the auditor. She also belongs to the County Auditors’ Association of Ohio.

“I like the people of this county,” Esposito said. “I don’t look at the position as something I have to do. It’s something I want to do. I like the community, and I have a wonderful staff.”

Prior to becoming the auditor, Esposito was an administrative secretary and a county commissioner from 1989 until 1995.

While in office, Esposito has won awards for her financial reporting. She has implemented a tax discount program for home owners called the Homestead Program. She also set up a direct deposit system for county employees.

Last year, the county had more than $720,000 in transactions that she oversaw.

She is currently working on a digitized mapping system of Portage County. The mapping system would provide geographic information to all citizens and would also help emergency teams provide faster response times.

Bogo is the Democratic candidate in the political race. She was recruited by Portage County Commissioner Chris Smeiles for the job.

“I recruited Michele because our local party has not done a good job of recruiting local office holders,” Smeiles said. “We want people who have a talent and knowledge. Michele has a college degree. She has youth, and she has a lot of talent.”

Bogo grew up in Ravenna and has lived in the area most of her life. She moved to Florida for a brief period and attended Hillsborough Community College in Tampa for occupational therapy. After two years at the community college, she moved back to Ohio to continue her education at Kent State.

After graduation, Bogo was working in public relations for a local company. She left the company to take care of her son, but now works part time for them.

While working from home, Bogo decided she wanted to give back to the community and volunteer for local committees. She became active in the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Directors for the Ravenna Parks and Recreations department. She also was on the Charter Review Commission. This commission sparked Bogo’s interests in local politics.

“It allowed me to see how government really worked,” she said. “I saw an insider’s view on how to work with other communities and how to look at the mayor and council to see if they’re running things properly.”

Bogo said if she were elected to office there would be two major issues she would like to tackle: She wants to foster cooperation between elected officials, and she wants to communicate more efficiently with the general public.

“I want to try and get local and state officials to work together to have the same goals in mind,” she said. “I also want the community to feel like they have ownership over the county.”

If Bogo is elected auditor, she said she fully intends to continue work on the mapping system and the updated planning system that Esposito is trying to implement.

“I am all about technology,” she said. “I don’t want to take jobs away from people. It’s just making life easier with innovation.”

Contact public affairs reporter Joanne Bello at [email protected]