A couple of Republicans are vying for York County Controller, a position akin to chief financial officer of the county, but the primary election won't be the first time the men have squared off.

Two-term incumbent Robb Green, 66, of Jefferson unsuccessfully challenged 69-year-old Bonner Smith's petition. A county judge scolded Smith, who's mayor of Stewartstown, for some procedure oversights but allowed the petition to stand.

Green has criticized his opponent's apparent lack of attention to detail, a trait that's important to the holder of office of county controller, and Smith returned the jabs in one of the two

questions below.

To see responses to all five questions The York Dispatch posed to the candidates, visit www.yorkdispatch.com.

Green
Green

Q: What financial ex perience do you have? How will this experi ence aid in your posi tion if elected?

Green: My education enables me to put into practice knowledge learned while earning my bachelor of business administration degree with a major in finance and minor in accounting from Iona College.

For the past 45 years, my full-time work experience employed my finance and accounting experience. Starting as an accountant, I progressed to become a controller -- 13 years as a for-profit controller; 10 years as a not-for-profit controller, and, for the past eight years, as your York County Controller.

The controller's office, under my leadership, has received annual awards for the excellence of our comprehensive annual financial report from the Government Finance Officers Association.

The Standard and Poor's rating association utilizes this report to review our financial status, giving York County a AA stabile rating, enabling low cost financing of necessary loans.

Through my involvement, our retirement fund has grown 13 percent each of the last two years.

Smith: I began working in business and finance when I was 10 years old with my parents' businesses.

My mother was my teacher and very strict to detail as she was the head of the school of business for a major university.

Smith
Smith

With degrees in accounting and business management and the extensive knowledge of cost accounting, I became the business management manager for SAAB-Scandia.

I have worked with worldwide banks in the exchange of financial information, policies, ideas and currency for the different countries that SAAB-Scandia manufactured their products.

Also I was the comptroller for an international manufacturer of automotive parts located in Baltimore, where I was in charge of the corporation's international finances, worldwide banking, credit department, corporate-owned facilities and the corporate pension programs.

Q: Choose an issue not covered (in other questions posed) and explain its importance to the office.

Green: As chief financial officer for York County, the controller must advise the commissioners of potential long-term financial problems.

The York County Nursing Home incurred a $23 million subsidy for the four years ending in 2011.While still being audited, the results for 2012 could result in an additional $8-10 million subsidy. Our tax rates would absorb these losses.

Other Pennsylvania counties pursued the sale of their nursing homes to stem continuing significant losses. Their patient rooms did not disappear; the acquiring purchaser kept these patient rooms. The new owners found ways to operate without subsidies and provide satisfactory patient service.

York County has many uses for these funds including the establishment of a rainy day fund. Stabilizing the York County tax rate also needs to be a priority.

Smith: The start of this candidacy was a bit rocky as my opponent challenged signatures on my petitions.

As I traveled York County seeking signatures, people told me they were residents of York County and they were Republican, I took faith in their word.

However, Mr. Green had challenged 66 signatures stating they were "not registered with the Republican Party in York County."

With information provided by the Board of Elections of all York County voters, I was able to locate and validate over 30 of the challenged signatures in a matter of a few hours.

My original fear was that this challenge would disenfranchise these York County voters.

But then contemplating on this later, my fear became genuine concerns.

Mr. Green, as the controller of York County, performs desk audits and maintains a full set of books for all financial transactions in detail, but yet he was unable to validate voters on a simple schedule provided by the Board of Elections.

As Mr. Green stated himself, "Attention-to-detail is of the utmost importance in the job of controller."

-- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.