Coffield takes reins at treasurer’s office

SIDNEY- After almost 10 months of waiting to take office, John Coffield will take the reins as Shelby County’s new treasurer on Monday, Sept. 4.

The 2016 election results brought a change of the position that was held by Democrat Linda Meininger for the last 14 years.

“I’m excited; some anticipation,” Coffield said. “Right after the election I was fired up and ready to get in there. But it’s been almost 10 months now, so, I’m looking forward to getting in there and getting into a routine.”

Although other elected officials took office at the beginning of the year, all Ohio treasurer’s terms run from September to September. This allows the incumbent treasurer to get the books balanced after collecting taxes in February and July. Also, September is a slow time for Treasurer’s Office, Coffield said, so it makes for a good transition time.

Coffield, a Republican and Sidney native, has been retired since 2015 after 36 years in the banking business. He graduated from Lehman Catholic High School and Miami University, and retired from Chase Bank. In 1992 he transferred from the Sidney office to Bank One Corporate in Columbus. In 2009, after his father developed health issues, he moved back to Sidney.

Coffield said he isn’t planning on making any major changes within the Treasurer’s Office.

“Linda has ran a nice office. No controversy or scandal. Not like (I) have to go in there and fix something.”

He said much of his job as treasurer is defined by the Ohio Revised Code, so he will be fine tuning versus changing things. But his initial goal is to “learn the operation and understand how everything works.”

“I’ve never been a fan of reinventing the wheel. I’ll take it and modify it and change it to make it a little bit better, but there is no reason to start from scratch,” Coffield said. “I think in my past jobs I’ve done a good job of taking existing processes and streamlining them and making them better.”

His main goals for the Treasurer’s office, Coffield said, are to protect the principal, maximize returns of invested money, meet the daily obligations with money, get good rates and collect tax delinquencies.

He said he wants to take a look at everything with a fresh set of eyes to ensure various aspects are working best for the county. Coffield plans to ensure that real estate taxes are set up correctly. He also plans to review the list of tax delinquencies and the contract Meininger instituted with the company TaxEase. The program works to lower delinquency rates because TaxEase purchases taxes the county cannot collect. Delinquent tax payers must then pay TaxEase.

“It’s time that we are going to start getting a better return on our money. As different different investments come due, it’ll allow us to get a little better return,” Coffield said. “If we are in the process of collecting taxes, and know that money doesn’t have to be paid out, we can stick (short term money) in a new state program called STAR Ohio. … It’s that balance that you have enough money on hand that you can meet all of the county’s obligations, but then also maximize your return on your investments.”

“I am excited, and looking forward to getting into the office and working with the existing staff. They all seem very knowledgeable, and know what they are doing. They are going to be helping me for a while,” Coffield said.

Coffield also said he is looking forward to working with the other county offices, such as the auditor and commissioners, as well as the people in the Treasurer’s Office. He said he already knows many of these people through his volunteer work with Kiwanis, Raise the Roof for the Arts, the Shelby County Counseling Center and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America club.

“I’m confident that they will be very helpful too. You are all in it as a team. And the team seems to work well here,” Coffield said with a smile.

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John Coffield, left, is sworn in as the new Shelby County Treasurer by Judge James Stevenson, at the Common Pleas courtroom Friday, Aug. 25. Holding the Bible for Coffield is his sister Teresa Coffield, of Sidney. Coffield, left, is sworn in as the new Shelby County Treasurer by Judge James Stevenson, at the Common Pleas courtroom Friday, Aug. 25. Holding the Bible for Coffield is his sister Teresa Coffield, of Sidney.
First day on the job will be Sept. 4

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.