By Jim Nowlan
At a 7 a.m. meeting Friday of the Stark County Board, chair Coleen Magnussen announced her appointment of Paula Leezer, of Toulon, to complete the remaining two years of the term of County Treasurer Katrina Rewerts, who resigned in January.
Prior to appointing Leezer, Magnussen read a letter from her vice-chair, Fulvio Zerla, which praised Leezer.
Noting that he and Magnussen had interviewed three candidates, Zerla stated in his letter, “In my opinion, Paula Leezer is by far the best candidate for the positon of county treasurer.”
Zerla noted Leezer’s 21 years of continuous service at Amerex Co. on North Pekin, during which she rose from accounting assistant to co-general manager and controller in 2012.
“Normally people don’t last long in small companies unless they are extremely talented and hard-working,” the Zerla letter stated.
As predecessor Rewerts had been elected as a Republican, county GOP chair Mike Bigger was formally responsible for recommending someone to be considered for the post.
Bigger had recommended Michelle Claeys, of Toulon, who had been the assistant in the treasurer’s office for 12 years.
The appointment was, however, solely the responsibility of chair Magnussen.
Zerla observed that the silence of the other board members at the open part of the meeting, which followed a closed executive session of about 20 minutes, reflected their consent of Magnussen’s appointment.
In the public comment part of the meeting, which preceded the appointment, Toulon residents Misty Turnbull and Jenni Davis implored the board to support Claeys, whom Davis stated, “was the only person qualified to run the treasurer’s office.”
“I hope you have been listening to the citizens,” Davis said pointedly to the board, adding that she was distressed “by the personal vendetta” against the employees of the treasurer’s office.
Leezer, 50, is a graduate of Black Hawk College with an associate’s degree in accounting.
“I’m very excited about it, I’m excited about getting my hands dirty, I guess, with the job and to hit the ground running,” Leezer told The News.
Leezer told The News she felt she would work well with board chair Magnussen.
“I try not to bring personal feelings to a professional position, no matter what. When I am in a working environment all that is set aside.”
Magnussen told the board the new treasurer planned to run for election to the post in 2018.
Leezer and husband Mike have three children: Nicholas, 31; Jenny, 26, and Lacey, 21.
Daughter-in-law Alison Leezer, married to Nicholas, is the Stark County Probation Officer.