Auditor Dustry Rhodes will not be running
When Dusty Rhodes first became Hamilton County Auditor in 1990, he was the only Democrat in office in the entire county.
He remained in office long enough for everyone, but was kicked out of the Democratic Party when Democrats voted in May to declare him “not in good standing.”
Rhodes, 81, announced on Friday that he would not seek re-election next year, stepping down in March 2023 at the end of his term.
“I’ll have more time to tweet,” Rhodes said with a laugh Friday morning.
His tweets and comments online have eclipsed much of his career in recent years. One of the last drops for Democrats came in June 2020. Rhodes tweeted in response to the Black Lives Matter mural painted in June 2020 outside Cincinnati City Hall.
“I’m just wondering when they’re going to paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ on Auburn Avenue, you know, in front of this building where they end black and white lives too, almost every day of the week.” He was referring to a family planning clinic.
Rhodes said recent controversies and Democratic censorship did not play a role in his decision. He has considered running for freelance next year. But he told The Enquirer he decided not to.
Rhodes said he wanted to spend more time with his 57-year-old wife, Jo Ann. He said he also wanted to do more writing and radio, an area where he became well known in the 1960s as a disc jockey for WSAI-AM.
Rhodes is playing with the idea of writing his memoirs.
“I have a lot of stuff,” Rhodes said. “I saved everything. I look forward to (retirement). It’s a new chapter.”
The announcement came as a shock to Democratic Hamilton County President Gwen McFarlin.
“Wow,” McFarlin said when she heard the news on her way to Columbus on Friday afternoon. “We had our differences. Despite that, I always respected him. As an auditor, he did a good job. I’m really shocked.”
This leaves a free seat for one of the main county offices. The name of State Representative Brigid Kelly was discussed as a successor. The Hyde Park Democrat said she was thinking about it and would make an announcement on Tuesday.
Rhodes said Kelly would make a great listener and that she is “really honest”.
“I think she would do a great job,” Rhodes said.
Kelly said nothing more about her potential candidacy ahead of Tuesday’s announcement. But she thanked Rhodes for her years of service.
“I think anyone who has a career that spans 30 years of public service is really a big deal now,” Kelly told The Enquirer. “He came to power at a time when a lot of Democrats couldn’t get elected in Hamilton County.”
Kelly said she doesn’t always agree with Rhodes and acknowledged that her comments online are part of her legacy. But she also recognized Rhodes for the good work. They recently worked together on legislation that would allow auditors to test the quality of gasoline to make sure that the people who pay for premium gasoline are actually getting premium gasoline.
“I hope people will recognize the work he has done on behalf of consumers,” Kelly said. “I’m sure there will be a few sprinkled tweets over time. It’s all part of his experience and his story.”
Rhodes, in his statement announcing his retirement, also expressed his gratitude.
“I am grateful to the citizens of Hamilton County for having trusted me to elect me for a record eight four-year terms as county auditor,” Rhodes said in a statement. “I also thank our wonderful staff who work with me and constantly respect the obligation to provide excellent service to citizens.
What is a departmental auditor?
Hamilton County Auditor’s Salary: $ 112,500
Term: Four years (term begins with state law on the second Monday in March)
Functions: The auditor is the financial and accounting director with a wide range of responsibilities.
For most people, they know the assessor of real estate. The auditor appraises the real estate to determine the amount of tax.
As the accountant for the county, the auditor cuts checks for the county, overseeing the payment of bills and payroll. When a local authority wishes to put a tax on the ballot, the auditor must certify it by estimating the amount it would bring.
Each gasoline pump is inspected and a seal of approval from the auditor. If you need a dog license, you get one from the county auditor.
Source: Ohio County Auditors Association