By Peter H. Milliken
The newly designated Republican candidate for Mahoning County auditor said if he’s elected, he’d bring to the auditor’s office 35 years of financial management experience.
“This is the right time for a full-time financial professional as county auditor,” said Ralph T. Meacham, of Lake Milton, a certified public accountant and chief financial officer for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1988 to 1991.
Meacham was designated Sunday as the GOP’s replacement for Bill Reese, who withdrew from the race for health reasons.
In a Monday press conference at GOP headquarters, Meacham said he’d offer county residents “a work ethic, guardianship of their taxes, transparency and complete integrity.”
Meacham, who said being county auditor would be “the capstone of a fulfilling career,” is challenging the incumbent Democratic county auditor, Michael V. Sciortino, on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Sciortino is under indictment, charged with 16 felony counts, in the Oakhill Renaissance Place criminal conspiracy case, in which he has pleaded innocent.
Meacham was chief financial officer and director of operations for the Packer Thomas & Co. accounting firm in Youngstown from 2009-12.
He was CFO and director of human resources at Butler Wick Corp., a brokerage and financial advisory firm in Youngstown, from 1997 to 2009.
He has also been a volunteer with Southwinds Inc., a Pittsburgh nonprofit organization that operated group homes for mentally disabled adults.
“I’m very impressed with your resume. It’s one of the most-impressive resumes I’ve ever seen,” Donna Bricker, party chairwoman, told Meacham at the press conference.
Asked about his lack of governmental accounting experience, Meacham said he took a 16-hour continuing professional education course in government and nonprofit accounting two weeks ago.
“I’ve served with nonprofits as a volunteer, and the government and nonprofit accounting is somewhat similar,” he said.
Meacham said he wasn’t sure if he’d support the three-quarter of a percent sales tax on the fall ballot, which is designated for the county sheriff, coroner’s and prosecutor’s offices and 911 emergency dispatching center.
“Let me research that a little more and have a better answer for you tomorrow,” Meacham told a reporter.
Meacham has a bachelor’s degree in economics from John Carroll University and a master of business administration degree in banking and finance from Case Western Reserve University.