GOSHEN — Three Republicans, including an incumbent, are running for Elkhart County auditor.
Auditor Pauline Graff is facing two challengers for her seat in May, including a part-time county employee and the head of a Millersburg security company.
Graff, 61, is seeking a second four-year term as county auditor. She has worked for the county since 1999, when she was hired as the payroll supervisor. She was promoted to chief deputy auditor in 2004 by former auditor David Hess.
“I want to continue to serve the taxpayers of Elkhart County and continue utilizing the knowledge and skills that I have obtained for the last 15 years in this office,” Graff said.
Graff said budget constraints, tax caps and dwindling revenues are the top issues facing the county.
“It will continue to be a challenge in the coming years on how to still provide the services to the public with less revenue to pay for these services and where cuts will need to be made,” she said.
Graff, who lives in Goshen, is a member of the Elkhart County Republican Women’s Club and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary.
One of Graff’s challengers, Jim Erb, is critical of her job as auditor. Erb, 51, said the auditor needs better leadership and communication skills to run the office.
“Those offices got to work together in order for county government to function properly,” he said. “It needs to be an office that reaches out to other county offices with respect and cooperation, and in return, they will get respect and cooperation from other county offices, and that’s what people want and deserve out of their local government.”
Graff, however, said her rapport with other county department leaders is respectful and collaborative.
“My relationship with other departments is completely open,” she said. “I have no problem with any of the departments, and no one has problems with me.”
Erb, who lives in New Paris, is the president and CEO of NiteSource Security in Millersburg and a former Goshen police officer. He ran for Indiana Senate in 2008 against Carlin Yoder. He is a member of the Sons of the American Legion, the Goshen VFW Men’s Auxiliary and the Goshen Chamber of Commerce. Erb volunteered for former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ campaign and lobbied for bills in Indianapolis but said he always wanted to get involved with local government.
Like Graff and Erb, John Loos pointed to financial stability, reductions in spending and leadership as three key issues for the auditor’s office.
“Fiscal responsibility is an important task for any elected official, but it is something I would strive extra hard for if elected for the position of county auditor,” said Loos, who lives in Elkhart.
Loos, 69, has worked for the county for 26 years, including 14 years as Cleveland Township assessor. A retired teacher and U.S. Army veteran, Loos works part-time at the county assessor’s office. He is a member of several organizations including the American Legion, the National Rifle Association and Disabled American Veterans.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.