Four candidates for Violet Township fiscal officer will appear on the ballot Nov. 5.

Jennifer Clemens, Dan Griscom, Vanessa Niekamp and Peggy Portier are running campaigns this fall.

The winner of the election will take over for fiscal officer Brian Sauer, who was appointed to manage the township's finances in March 2014 but who chose not to run to retain the post.

The four are seeking a four-year term as fiscal officer that would begin April 1, 2020.

Clemens, 47, of Wheaton Avenue is married to Shane Clemens. The couple have four children: Maddison, Nick, Faith and Colt.

Clemens is an Ohio State University graduate. She has served on various Pickerington Schools parent-teacher organizations and volunteered for school-sponsored programs and athletic teams.

She is co-chairwoman of the Pickerington Antique and Craft Show which benefits district programs and is a youth leader for students in grades 6-8 at Grace Fellowship Church.

"At a young age, I developed an excitement for helping people through opportunities provided by a youth organization in high school," Clemens said.

"I love to listen to people and hear their stories, and through every season of life it seems to be how I find joy and contentment.

"It has been on my heart for a while about serving my community in a different capacity, but I didn't know what it was."

Clemens said she believes residents' voices aren't being heard.

"I have been very fortunate to live in Pickerington for 15 years and raise my family," she said. "We have great communities and great public services.

"What we are challenged with, like many other communities, is how to provide these services and grow without raising taxes every time we turn around.

"I hope to work on behalf of the residents and be that voice of the community serving as the next Violet Township fiscal officer."

Griscom, 61, of Wheaton Avenue, is married to Sandra Griscom. The couple have five grown children and one granddaughter.

Griscom has a degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee and a master's in public administration from Ohio State.

A former Pickerington Schools treasurer, Griscom has served on the Pickerington Public Library board of trustees, as well as the library's finance, audit and budget committee. He's also on the Pickerington Community Theatre board of directors and is a member of the Ohio Government Finance Officers Association.

"I have always had a keen interest in local government, and I care deeply about our community and its future," Griscom said. "Public service is in my DNA.

"With my experience of over 30 years as a chief financial officer in charge of public funds, I feel extremely well qualified for this position. I served as treasurer (and) chief financial officer of the Pickerington Local School District from 2008 to 2013, providing financial leadership while earning state and national awards for clean audits and excellent financial reports."

Griscom said he also recently served as the Westerville Public Library fiscal officer.

"My goal is to provide the residents of Violet Township with the highest quality of government services in a fiscally conservative way," he said.

Niekamp, 49, of East Columbus Street is married to Philip. The couple have two sons: Erik, 16, and Alan, 11.

She has degrees in business administration and jazz performance from Capital University, as well as one in human resources from Columbus State Community College.

Niekamp is executive director of the Pickerington Food Pantry, which provides 16,000 meals a month to people in need, and has served on the Pickerington school board since January 2014. She's a past president and current member of the Pickerington school board.

Additionally, she's a member of the Pickerington Lions Club, Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce, Pickerington Village Association, 100+ Women Who Care Fairfield County, Pickerington Area Resource Coalition, Drug Free Clubs of America, Pickerington Band Boosters, Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society and Violet Township Women's League. She's also a former member of the city of Pickerington's Personnel Review Board.

Niekamp said she has more than 24 years of government leadership experience and has managed public budgets and led collective bargaining for the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association and the Service Employees International Union District 1199.

She said if elected, "information will be provided timely and must be informative to the (Violet Township) trustees, who make decisions on behalf of the public body.

"Accounting data will be a true reflection of the state of the township, as incorrect data could cost the taxpayers money associated to fees, penalties and audit findings."

Niekamp also pledged to be transparent in her work.

"Budgeting and forecasting reports will be readily available for residents to access and will be easy to comprehend," she said.

Portier, 59, lives on Refugee Road. She's married to Ralph Portier, and has a stepdaughter, Stephanie, as well as five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Portier attended Ohio University-Zanesville, Muskingum Area Technical College and Capital University. She's president of the Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society, treasurer for the Mingo Estates Civic Association and is a past president of the Fairfield Heritage Trail Association.

Additionally, Portier is a Pickerington Village Association board member, is a member of the Fairfield County Regional Planning Commission Active Transportation Subcommittee and serves on the Pickerington farmers market management Committee.

"I volunteered for the township bicentennial celebration several years ago and have worked part-time for the township for the past five years," Portier said.

"As I've covered different desks when full-time staffers are off and done special administrative projects, I've become familiar with the staff and needs of the township government.

"For the past year, I've been assisting in the fiscal office and using the accounting software. I will be available to township residents and provide ethical and transparent management of public funds."

Portier said that before moving to Pickerington, she managed the billing office of an emergency-medical-services organization that provided service to two counties while she also worked as a paramedic.

She said she also owned and operated a wheelchair van transport company serving multiple counties in southeastern Ohio.

"I believe my past business experience, current practical experience in the fiscal office and cooperative work ethic make me the best candidate for the fiscal officer," she said.

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