Four candidates vie to fill shoes of retiring tax collector
The retirement of Monroeville Tax Collector Geneva McKee after 35 years has prompted four candidates – two Democrats and two Republicans – to seek their party’s nominations for her position in Tuesday’s spring primary.
|On the ballot|
|Here are the candidates seeking their party’s nomination for Monroeville tax collector in Tuesday’s spring primary: <br Democrats Name: Patrick Fulkerson Age: 55Residence: Woodland Drive, MonroevilleFamily: Wife, Frances; daughter, Christy; son, KennethEducation: Bachelor’s in accounting from Point Park College; Fulkerson is a certified public accountant.Employment: Controller for Keystone Energy Oil & Gas and Keywell Services Inc., Downtown.Name: Murray Goppman Age: 45Residence: Garden City Drive, MonroevilleFamily: Wife, Denise; son, Brian; daughter, ElizabethEducation: Studied accounting and business management at Duquesne University; has taken classes in real estate and real estate law at Community College of Allegheny County’s Boyce Campus in MonroevilleEmployment: Chief clerk in the Allegheny County Treasurer’s Office RepublicansName: Steve Knezevich Age: Over 50Residence: Harvard Road, MonroevilleFamily: Wife, Nancy; daughters, Stephanie, Paula, Holly and MelissaEducation: Bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh, where he majored in accounting; Knezevich is a certified public accountant.Employment: Owner of Steven Knezevich Accounting in MonroevilleName: Deborah Kramer Age: 39Residence: Hazelwood Drive, MonroevilleFamily: Husband, Jeffrey HabermanEducation: Bachelor’s degree in accounting and management information systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania; working toward a master’s degree in taxation from Robert Morris College. Kramer is a certified public accountant.Employment: Assistant controller for PCC Specialty Products in Wexford|
While the candidate with the most political experience, 2nd Ward Councilman Patrick Fulkerson, wants to preserve the friendly atmosphere in the tax office, he also wants to make some updates.
‘I want to keep the personality the same,’ said Fulkerson, a Democrat.
If elected, Fulkerson, whose council term expires in 2004, said he plans to make it possible for taxpayers to make online payments and wants to institute electronic filing.
Fulkerson also said he would break the school real estate tax into two payments, and create a tax office Web site and link it to the county and state.
Fulkerson said his experience in business qualifies him for the job.
‘I am a professional,’ Fulkerson said. ‘I’ve spent a lot of years in business handling staff problems.’
Democrat Murray Goppman said he has worked closely with McKee, a Republican, in his position with the county treasurer’s office.
Goppman is endorsed by the Monroeville Democratic Committee.
If elected, Goppman said he, like Fulkerson, would develop a ‘direct link’ to county records ‘so we don’t have to wait for information to come from the county.’
Goppman disputed Fulkerson’s contention that the tax collector should be a certified public accountant. Goppman is not a CPA.
Fulkerson said as Monroeville grows, the municipality needs the ‘professional skills and a management background’ of a certified public accountant.
Goppman said many tax collectors throughout Allegheny County, including McKee, are not CPAs.
‘She’s not a CPA,’ Goppman said. ‘And she’s done a great job.’
Goppman said his experience as chief clerk in the county treasurer’s office qualifies him for the job. He said he has assisted taxpayers with their problems concerning reassessment appeals and the Act 77 Senior Tax Relief Program.
Seeking the Republican nomination are Steven Knezevich and Deborah Kramer.
Knezevich said he decided to seek the job because his strengths – management and computers – will help in the reassessment appeals process.
‘You need someone strong in these areas to handle the appeals,’ Knezevich said.
If elected, Knezevich said he will evaluate the way the tax office handles collections and may make changes such as setting up different payment schedules so taxpayers are not hit with single lump-sum tax payments.
Knezevich also vowed to ‘get the tax statements out on time and collect the taxes on time.’
Kramer said she decided to seek election as tax collector because ‘I want to be more involved in my community.’
Of all the elected offices, Kramer said she sees the tax collector position as ‘not quite so political.’
Kramer said she has no definite ideas about changes she would make in the tax office.
‘I’ve never heard anything bad about (the office),’ Kramer said. ‘Geneva has done a good job.’
If elected, Kramer said she would take a look at all aspects of the office and determine if any changes, such as extending evening hours, are needed.
Fulkerson, Goppman and Knezevich said they would be full-time tax collectors. Kramer said she has not decided whether she will work full time or part time.
Karen Zapf can be reached at email@example.com or (412) 380-8522.