2 compete for GOP nomination in Butler County controller fight
The two Republicans competing in the May 21 primary for Butler County controller each describe themselves as fiscal conservatives who will be vigilant about overseeing the county's finances.
No Democrat is running for the office, which Republican Jack McMillin of Butler has held for 20 years. He decided not to seek re-election and has not endorsed a primary election candidate. The winner of the Republican nomination would run unopposed in November, barring a write-in campaign by an opponent.
The controller keeps watch on county spending that is expected to be $186 million this year.
Candidate Karen L. Diehl, 57, of Franklin, is a certified public accountant and the owner of Diehl Accounting and Financial Services, PC, in Franklin.
“I think I would bring years of experience. I am a fiscal conservative. You don't spend money you don't have. That's how government should work, even though it often does not work that way,” said Diehl, who is married, has a grown daughter and is a lifelong resident of the county.
Her opponent, Ben Holland, 26, of Connoquenessing is the accounting manager for the Pittsburgh office of the McKesson Corp., a health care services company based in San Francisco.
“I'm running for two reasons. I have a strong accounting background and will be an independent fiscal watchdog for the county,” Holland said.
The controller earns $83,800 a year, oversees an office of seven full-time employees and one part-time employee.
Diehl, who studied accounting at Slippery Rock University, said mismanagement of the construction the Butler County Prison sparked her interested in public service.
Butler County officials in 2009 opened the 564-bed prison, anticipating an increase in the number of inmates as the county's population grew. But the daily average of 350 inmates, which includes about 50 state and federal prisoners, leaves plenty of extra space.
Holland has a background in public service.
In 2007, while in his third year at Grove City College, he was elected to the Butler Area School Board. He served one four-year term and said he did not vote to raise taxes, even though the board twice did so during his term.
Holland is a 2005 graduate of Butler Area Senior High School.
If elected, Holland said he would explore the use of technology to make the office more efficient and would work to keep the office nonpolitical.
“I'm a Republican. But the controller's job is nonpolitical in that you have to hold everyone accountable,” he said.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.