Treasurer-elect to stay on course

The treasurer wants a smooth transition.
WARREN -- The city councilman who will become city treasurer Jan. 1 said his goal will be to continue the progress that has been made under the present treasurer and tax administrator.
"John Taylor and Tom Gaffney did a heroic job for the last four years bringing that office to where it is," said Councilman John Homlitas, D-3rd, referring to the treasurer and tax administrator, respectively.
"It's my desire to make sure it stays in the 21st century and to continue the good work and to support that office and that staff to my fullest extent," said Homlitas, a financial adviser at Ameriprise Financial in Warren.
Homlitas won this year's Democratic primary for the part-time job of city treasurer and is unopposed in the November election. Homlitas said he'll keep his job at Ameriprise after he becomes city treasurer.
Taylor, who has been treasurer for almost four years and is also an insurance salesman at Paige & amp; Byrnes Insurance in Warren, decided not to seek re-election.
Taylor said he ran for treasurer four years ago "to make an improvement in our community and to improve tax collections. I think, for the most part, we have done that, and my job is over.''
Taylor, a Selma, Ala., native, who has resided in Warren since 1977, said he'll stay in his insurance sales job.
Outgoing officers
After he was elected, Taylor hired Gaffney from among 50 applicants screened by a search committee, and Taylor and Gaffney began work together Jan. 2, 2002.
When asked to name the main accomplishments during his term, Taylor gave Gaffney credit for "getting the office more computerized, improving the software, improving the number of individual tax collection dollars" and using the courts to improve collections.
"I just tried to stay out of the way," Taylor observed.
Taylor said he is trying to make the transition to Homlitas as smooth as possible. Taylor and Gaffney have spoken to Homlitas several times and explained the tax department's operations to him, Taylor said.
Gaffney said Homlitas has asked him to remain as tax administrator, and he has agreed to do so.
Taylor described Homlitas as a "very qualified, very capable person" who "knows the political arena."
Homlitas "loves the city and works hard for the city, and he has the investment background," Taylor said. "I'm sure he'll do a great job."

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