Columbus City Auditor

Former deputy auditor Megan Kilgore, now a local government adviser for H.J. Umbaugh & Associates, is running against Bob Mealy, a retired IBM executive, for the City Auditor's.Mealy, 60, runs his own company specializing in real estate rental properties and business consulting. He held several positions, primarily in sales, with IBM dating back to 1984 before he left in 2014.Kilgore, 34, spent nearly 12 years working as Hugh Dorrian’s deputy before taking a private-sector job about a year ago. She advises local governments, school districts and other public agencies on municipal finance.Read more:Auditor candidates gather support in bids to succeed Hugh DorrianVoters to pick Columbus’ first new auditor since 1969Dispatch endorsement
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    Megan Kilgore Municipal Advisor

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    Bob Mealy Retired IBM Executive

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Biographical Information

As the first new auditor in nearly five decades, what is the first step in filling the shoes of Hugh Dorrian?

What are the biggest financial hurdles for Columbus right now?

What is your top priority for Columbus’ finances?

What else would you like to say to voters?

Age 35
Education Master’s in Public Administration from Northwestern University BA in Political Science from The Ohio State University
Experience Former Asst City Auditor to Columbus City Auditor Hugh J. Dorrian for 11 years. Currently, Municipal Advisor to cities, counties - helping them plan and finance public projects. Adjunct lecturer of public finance at The Ohio State Univ.
Religion Presbyterian
I have 11 years of experience working for Auditor Dorrian in the Columbus City Auditor’s office, where I managed the City’s $4 billion debt portfolio, supported Mr. Dorrian in all aspects of the City’s fiscal management, and gained valuable institutional knowledge -- all alongside one of the best financial teams in the country. The Auditor's Office -- as a whole -- is comprised of nationally recognized talent. As City Auditor, I intend to do my best to fill Auditor Dorrian's shoes with my first-hand knowledge and the tenured experience of the capable staff.

Columbus is growing quickly and we are the envy of the Midwest. However, with that growth comes great financial responsibility. I believe I can put my public and private sector experience advising cities, counties, utilities, and economic development districts to great use in this position. My vision as City Auditor is to preserve our City’s financial stability through strong leadership, just as City Auditor Dorrian has done.
1) Population growth in Central Ohio; specifically, proactively managing for increasing populations so that our infrastructure (e.g. water system, sewer systems, roadways, and bridges) can remain strong and well-maintained while keeping utility user-rate increases to single-digit levels. Strong, proactive capital project planning will be required by the City Auditor’s Office, in collaboration with the City’s Department of Finance and Management and the Department of Public Utilities, to best provide incoming residents and existing residents with high quality municipal services.

2) Maintaining the City’s Triple-A bond ratings while: a) performing large scale water and sewer upgrades (pursuant to the Ohio EPA’s consent decrees), b) fulfilling the City’s typical and planned capital improvements, c) building new infrastructure to support the City’s growing population, d) maintaining existing infrastructure, and e) adapting to any changes in the state and local economies.
Maintaining the City’s Triple-A bond ratings in light of the City’s major capital needs, growing population, and large borders (approx 220 square miles) is an increasingly difficult task that will require a great deal of collaboration.

City Auditor Dorrian, through conservative fiscal management, has successfully worked with City Council and the Mayor throughout the years to employ policies that adhere to the goal of keeping the City's borrowing costs to a minimum. For example, Auditor Dorrian has insisted on rapid payoff of the City’s debt (a strong 73% of the City’s debt is paid off within 10 years).

Numerous factors are considered in the City’s bond ratings, but the most important takeaway is that a continuation of the City’s Triple-A bond rating must involve the collaboration of the City's leaders. I look forward to working with City officials to keep utility rates to single-digit levels, maintain our high quality of infrastructure, and keep the City’s borrowing costs low.
My mother, a lifelong teacher, instilled in me a great admiration for education. I am proud to serve as an Adjunct Faculty in Public Finance at The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs. I am also the Founder and former president of Ohio Women in Public Finance, an organization dedicated to providing education for women in public finance roles throughout the state.

I am the proud coach of the Columbus City Schools’ Special Olympics women’s basketball team (a Gold Medal winner!), a Board Member of Goodwill Columbus, a Board Member of the Columbus Landmarks Foundation, a graduate of the Leadership Columbus program, a WELD “Women You Should Know,” and a prior recipient of Columbus Business First’s Forty Under 40.
Age 61
Education B.A. Tennessee Temple University
Experience Over 3 decades in executive private-sector leadership roles in finance, sales, maketing, and education. Executive for $1B Finance Division of IBM (Columbus City Budget $1B). Led over 1,500 employees globally (Auditor manages 200)
Family Happily married to Dr. Suzanne Leson. 4 children and 7 grandchildren
Religion Non-denominational. Active in the Vineyard Church, ordained and licensed minister.
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The very first step is the first step I've done in every exectutive role over the last 20 years...whether that was leading the $1B hardware brand, the $1B global software team, or the $500,000,000 small and medium business brand...I had a 30-60-90 day plan in place.

This 30-60-90 day plan was an internal/external study to determine what was being done right and what could be improved with specific written plans including responsible owner, due dates, and measurable outcomes. I can assure you after doing this multiple times that I will save $MILLIONS of $$$ through reducing manual processes, etc. What will be do with this additional revenues? I will work with the mayor's office and city council to determine the best use of these revenues. I for one would be interested in LOWERING city income taxes and/or increasing the level of services.
The City Council. As the Columbus Dispatch so accurately reported a few weeks ago, the only thing stopping City Council from excessive spending is an Auditor who can stand up to City Council and say, "we must live within our means". Given my 30 years of executive experience, I am used to being the strong leader and making sound financial decisions. Unlike Megan Kilgore, I have been the top leader in an organization, setting strategy and living with the decisions I made. There's a big difference between being an assistant City Auditor and being the Auditor. I've led teams of 1,500 and Kilgore has never run even a dept of 200. I've led $1B businesses and started 4 companies and Kilgore has started none.
To maintain the AAA Bond Rating of the City and to work with all facets of state and federal government and local and state businesses to attract and maintain more profitable businesses to Columbus. Having been a leader in Corporate America and also a small business leader, I am best suited for the job. I've been in the board rooms of General Motors, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Bank of American and sat down and worked with business leaders like John W. Thompson, the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Microsoft. I will lead the auditors office to make it more transparent. I will have my personal phone number on the Auditors website so anyone calling the auditors office will get me 24/7.
I am an honest man that will bring transparency to the Auditors office. I am an ordained minister, active in the Vineyard Church. I am an active athlete that is also a spinning instructor. I am a family man, married to a fine lady Dr. Suzanne Leson, and am proud that she's my wife. I believe in God, in Jesus Christ, and that we can solve most of Columbus' and the world's ills by a little, "love they neighbor".

I had a stellar career at IBM and I will bring excellence to the Auditors office. I have an amazing work ethic that allowed me to work full-time while getting my education...nothing has ever been given to me. My father was a truck driver and my mom a stay at home mom. I was the first person in my family to go to college. My first company I started I literally "bet my house" to make it go and four years later paid off that house and sold it for a huge profit. I know what it takes to run the auditor's office: real world experience, strong decision making, and results.
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