County treasurer Myrna Thayne must win the Republican primary Tuesday if she is to appear on the November ballot for the four-year post she has held since 2006.
While her opponent, Edward Keator Jr. _ who was endorsed by the county's Republican Committee in April _ is also on the Independence and Conservative party lines, Thayne was unsuccessful in seeking additional ballot lines.
The winner will face Daniel Crowell in November, who is running as the Democratic candidate. The salary for the treasurer is about $62,740 annually.
After receiving the Republican committee endorsement, Keator _ then a county accountant _ resigned in May, citing unprofessional conduct by Thayne, which she denied.
Also that month, Thayne resigned from her position as treasurer of the county's GOP committee, saying the duties were too many and that she wanted to concentrate on county work.
Controversy surrounded Thayne early in her term. She worked with the county board of representatives on a 2007 budget that mistakenly raised the tax levy 22 percent.
After the problem was detected, the board refunded the excess to taxpayers, and several representatives blamed Thayne. The board refused to approve her budget in 2008 and 2009.
Thayne, 60, of Laurens, has been with the treasurer's department for about 20 years.
She said there was no error on her part in the 2007 budget. If there was, the state comptroller would have audited her work, and that has not happened, she said.
Instead, she said, she has been made a "scapegoat" on the issue.
The responsibility for setting the tax rate belongs to the board or its appointee, and that was not her, she said.
She said she is hopeful that when people consider her experience, she will receive their vote on Tuesday.
Thayne said she sees herself as an advocate for the taxpayers. In her job, she talks with a lot of people during the day who have been encouraging to her regarding the primary. If elected, she will continue to push for an installment plan for delinquent taxes, she said.
It takes about five years for someone to gain the experience needed in her office, she said. All of the nuances make the job complex and complicated. If the voters look at the qualities she brings, she will be successful in getting the nomination, she said.
"I'm proud of the team of people I have brought into office," she said.
If she doesn't win, she said she will finish out her term and will still see her time as a success.
Keator, 47, of West Oneonta, said he is running so he can put his nearly 30 years of financial experience to work for the people of Otsego County. He has run a bookkeeping and tax-accounting business from his home since 2003. From 2007-09, he worked as an accountant for Otsego County.
If elected, all his experience will allow him to "effectively serve the people" starting on his first day, he said, adding, "I know how important fiscally sound government is to our businesses and taxpayers."
Through his work with the county, "I have seen firsthand how we can make the treasurer's office more efficient and accountable."
Although Keator was proud of his party endorsements and hoped to prevail in the upcoming primary, he said he would be an "independent thinker" and work for the good of everyone.
In his door-to-door campaigning, he has heard taxpayers want someone who can prepare a sound budget. That is something he can do, he said.
If he is elected, Keator said he would work more closely with the county board and department heads so the issues are better understood. By working together, he said, "we can give the people of this county the best for their money."