Michael O’Keefe, left and Michael Swan, right
Two men are seeking the post of Warren County Treasurer, and the race has been anything but mundane as Election Day approaches.
Earlier this year, county Treasurer Frank O’Keefe declared his retirement from the post, and soon after, announced that his son, Michael O’Keefe, would be seeking to replace him. Both O’Keefes are Democrats.
Not long afterwards, Republican Michael Swan, now county Director of Real Property Tax Services, announced that he, too, was seeking the position as top financial officer of the county.
O’Keefe said this week that his work experience, including his current position as a Business teacher at Fort Edward High School qualifies him to take over the Treasurer’s post.
Swan has said that his work overseeing the Real Property tax functions of the county, representing over $8 billion in valuation, is a more appropriate background for the work as Treasurer.
Swan pledged that if elected, he’d update the Treasurer's office website, and provide more comprehensive information directly to the public, as he has done in his current department. He also promised to provide the most thorough, in-depth reports to county leaders that they’ve ever had.
He also said he’d support establish a property tax payment plan for county taxpayers, allowing those who are financially stressed to pay up.
In a recent debate, O’Keefe questioned such a move, saying it might allow more taxes to slip into uncollectible status — an opinion that Swan disputes.
Swan also said he’d make tax payments easy for citizens, accepting credit, debit and electronic payments.
Both candidates say they’d streamline the Treasurer’s office operations. Swan said he’s the candidate who can actually accomplish such a feat — he cites cutting $33,000 of expenses from the Real Property office.
“Government needs to be leaner, more productive and more responsive to the needs of the people,” Swan said.
O’Keefe said the top issue in the campaign was keeping the Treasurer’s office independent, offering a balance to the predominantly Republican county Board of Supervisors.
“The next county Treasurer must be an individual who understands the need to maintain the current strong county Treasurer system,” he said.
Swan said the top issues of the campaign was for voters to realize they were voting for Frank O’Keefe’s son, and not O’Keefe himself, who has served 12 years in the post. Swan noted that his opponent’s campaign signs didn’t mention his first name nor his party affiliation.
Both Swan and O’Keefe said they’d operate the Treasurer’s office in the most efficient and professional manner, adhere to all applicable accounting standards and laws, as well as keep county well informed of financial concerns.