Chesterton Tribune



Porter Republicans to choose between Pomeroy and Sexton

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In the municipal primary election on Tuesday, May 5, Porter voters will have only one contested race to vote in, and they’ll have to pull a Republican ballot to do so.

Incumbent Carol Pomeroy is seeking to fend off the challenge of Zathoe Sexton for the nomination to Clerk-Treasurer.

Pomeroy is a three-term incumbent who before entering public service drove a Duneland School bus--in Porter--for a generation. She expresses a deep commitment to the town and its people. And she says that it would be a privilege to continue to serve Porter for another term. “I loved and kept Porter’s kids safe for 32 years and have also kept Porter’s money safe for almost 12 years, I have served Porter and its residents for more than half my life and enjoyed every minute of it.”

Sexton has taken her bachelor’s and master’s degrees--the latter in social work, with a concentration in planning and administration--and put them to work for more than a dozen years as an executive administrator at Globe Star in Chesterton, where among other things she handles HR functions and oversees billing. Those skills, Sexton says, “will be transferable” to the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office, as will her “experience in dealing with government funding, federal grants, and grant writing.”

There is really only one issue in the race, at least as the candidates have defined the race: Pomeroy’s record in office. Pomeroy stands by her record. Sexton is challenging it.

Sexton has accused Pomeroy’s staff at the town hall of rudeness and favoritism. She says that the town hall’s regular business hours don’t readily accommodate residents who do shift work. And she says that Pomeroy failed to implement a credit-card bill-payment process authorized by the Town Council.

“Each resident should be treated fairly and with respect and their overall experience with the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office should be a pleasant one,” Sexton says. She adds, “My feeling is that it doesn’t matter who you are when you walk in, I’m your servant.”

Pomeroy, when informed of Sexton’s charges, expressed surprise. “Since I took office, we’ve improved customer experience tremendously and have provided an open-door policy to everyone,” she says. Pomeroy adds, “Usually we’re accused of being too nice when people are disagreeable. And if I saw someone being treated rudely, I would address it immediately. That’s just not how I am or how we work.”

On the subject of bill payments, Pomeroy says that--for several years now, since “we implemented an accounting system that was able to accommodate these transactions”--residents have been able to pay with their credit card at and over the phone and may also have their checking account automatically debited.

Sexton also suggests, without quite saying, that Pomeroy may be challenged by the pace at which the legal and technological landscape keeps changing. “It is important to have a person in the Clerk-Treasurer’s position who is not only willing to embrace technology but also has the ability to understand and implement the changes in fiscal policy,” she says.

Pomeroy, however, is proud of her modernizing and rationalizing initiatives in the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office. She cites her discovery of an underbilling problem which was costing the town tens of thousands of dollars every year; to her revision of the Porter Code Book, untouched since 1991; to her making available, in downloadable form on the municipal website, most of the important forms and applications. And she points to her nearly 12 years of seasoning in office.

There is one other issue in the race--introduced by Paul Childress in a Voice of the People--which the Chesterton Tribune was aware of when it interviewed Pomeroy and Sexton but opted not to pursue because Pomeroy herself did not: a homestead tax credit improperly issued to Sexton and her husband, Bill, by the previous Porter County Auditor’s Office.

Sexton told the Tribune that their application for the homestead credit was an honest mistake and that she and her husband are making payments on the back taxes.

Pomeroy, when informed of Childress’ letter, explicitly disavowed any knowledge of the issue, said she had no interest at all in leveraging it, and speculated that Childress is less interested in helping her win than in seeing Sexton lose.



Posted 5/4/2015