CIRCLEVILLE — After more than 20 years, Circleville Auditor Gayle Spangler will retire later this month
Spangler began her career in 1991 in income tax and when then auditor, Madeline Sanders, retired, Spangler decided to run for auditor and won, holding the position ever since.
Spangler said she likes numbers and that her family will tell you she’s a “neat freak.”
“I’ve always enjoyed it, it’s a task-oriented thing,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed presenting to the city and more importantly to the voters how we spend our money because ultimately, it’s the voter’s money. Being accountable for that is something I’ve always found fulfillment in.”
Spangler is a member of Rotary and also serves as Williamsport’s fiscal officer.
“I’ve always enjoyed public service, I tell people that’s my hobby,” she said. “This has just fit in to my personality and what I enjoy doing.”
Spangler said the auditor’s role is to administer what the city council legislates.
“I’ve always taken that to understand when [city council] does something, it’s my job to make that as good as I can,” she said. “You can make suggestions and I’ve always tried to do that, but when it comes down to it, they legislate it and we have to do it. There are times there are things I’ve done that I’ve not agreed with, but when it comes down to it, that’s our responsibility.”
Spangler said during her time as auditor, there have been major changes.
“It’s been a lot of fun, but the amount of changes in the last 20 years are unbelievable,” she said. “The regulations, restrictions and workload have been unbelievable.
Spangler said looking back, the only thing she’d change is her “motherly” behavior and be more assertive.
“When it comes down to it, I can’t tell them what to spend and the budgetary process and it’s important the departments understand what they can spend,” she said. “We have finite resources and we don’t make widgets and can’t increase the price on them. It’s important that people understand their budgets and I think over the years, I’ve been too motherly in that aspect.”
Many of those that Spangler has worked with in the city, as well as Pickaway County, recognized her importance to the financial health of the city and her accuracy when it comes to audits.
“As auditor for the past 20 years, Gayle’s accumulated knowledge has served Circleville well,” David Crawford, Circleville City Council President said. “Our city’s annual audits have been recognized in nine of the past 10 years by the state auditor for being flawless, and we’ve never had any major compliance issue.
She has several accomplishments, but two in particular stand out as being impactful to the community. One is a recent program she put in place to reimburse our small businesses for unexpected COVID-19-related expenses, and the second is her efforts to ensure the historic Everts school properties could be saved and placed under the control of community caretakers.”
Mayor Don McIlroy called Spangler and integral part of the city and important in helping it function properly.
“She’s been here through many changes, including members of city council and mayors,” McIlroy said. “She’s worked with each very effectively. I knew Gayle prior to coming in as mayor and I couldn’t have function without her. She will extremely hard to replace, but we do wish her a great deal of success in retirement. Of all the people I have worked with in the city, she’s the one I respect the most.”
Barry Keller, City Council member and chair of the finance committee said he wishes Spangler the best in her retirement.
“Gayle has been a very good, dedicated city elected official,” Keller said. “She’s been a good steward of the taxpayers money. She’s always been mindful of our tax dollars, her office has performed in a professional way and the audits have reflected that from the notices she’s gotten from the state auditor’s office.”
Melissa Betz, Pickaway County Auditor, said she’d miss working and collaborating with Spangler.
“It has been a pleasure working with Gayle during her years as being the auditor of the City of Circleville. She has served the city efficiently and effectively in her position. Her dedication to the city and commitment to the office will be missed. Our conversations will be missed.
We have worked well together over the years. We have bounced ideas and thoughts off each other. How did she handle something for the city or how did I handle something for the county. We have compared and discussed audit reports, end of month balances and budgets to name a few. Then there were TIF’s, JEDD’s, DRD’s, things that we learned a lot about together. We’ve had an abundance of great collaboration. I will miss working with her, but wish her nothing but the best as she steps into this next chapter of her life.”
The Republican Central Committee will now have the task of replacing Spangler. The committee can officially be appointed the next auditor no sooner than five days following Spangler stepping down per the Ohio Revised Code. However, Spangler shared that Tom Spring would be her replacement.
Spangler said she was humbled by the well wishes of others and offered one piece of advice for Spring and other auditors down the line.
“Always seek out help if you’re not sure,” she said. “I was always part of different groups, and things are so nice because you have chat boards, always utilize the resources and other people. Other auditors are always willing to help. [Betz] has been a blessing and we bounce things off each other. Surround yourself with great personnel. I have a great staff. They really care.”
Spangler, who recently became a grandmother, said she’s going to take some time off and look at other things to keep busy in addition to keeping her position with Williamsport.
“I’ll probably go back to work in some capacity somewhere,” she said. “I laugh and tell everyone I’m going to take time off and that will last 7.2 days. Then I’ll think that I have to go do something. I’d also like to do more charity work, I’ll look for something like that.”
Spangler said Circleville is a great community with great people and despite the tough 10 to 15 years, things will get better.
“We live in a nice community with a nice downtown, nice parks and I can walk my dog at 10 p.m. and I don’t feel uncomfortable in any way,” she said. “But we’re also 30 minutes from a major metropolitan area. I think we live in a perfect world. This is a great community to be a part of and raise a family in.”