Name recognition isn't easy for a political neophyte.
One candidate in a six-way race for a township clerk's position figured the best way to stand out was to change his name to something more recognizable.
So Harold Franklin Sauber now is officially Harold Heidi Sauber, or Heidi, to his friends.
“It's all about name recognition,” Mr. Sauber said. “Nobody knows that my name is Harold.” Mr. Sauber's campaign for the post in Clinton Township began earlier this summer with a petition filed in Fulton County Probate Court to legally switch his middle name. “I've had this name for 64 years,” said Mr. Sauber, a private tax accountant who also works in a sporting goods store and as a part-time deputy clerk of courts. “Those people who know me real well know me as Heidi.”
His telephone listing in Wauseon is Heidi Sauber. Customers of his accounting practice, however, will find him listed under Harold Sauber.
His uncle, also named Harold, gave him the female moniker, but Mr. Sauber doesn't know why.
“Beats me. But I'd like to know why. I'd like to wring his neck.”
Board of elections rules prohibit candidates from using nicknames on ballots, other than derivatives, such as Harry for Harold or Bill for William, said Kathy Meyer, deputy director of the Fulton County elections board.
Heidi Sauber figured he'll need something to set him apart from the incumbent, Roger Miller, and four other contenders.
Clinton Township, Fulton County's largest township, has a population of 9,280, according to 2000 census figures. Clinton Township includes the city of Wauseon.
Changing one's name in Fulton County requires filing a petition, paying an $80 fee (plus the cost of a newspaper advertisement), and a hearing, which the petitioner generally is not required to attend.
Last year, nine petitions were filed with the court.
The clerk is responsible for recording trustee meetings and handling receipts and expenditures on behalf of the three elected trustees.
Mr. Miller, 74, of Wauseon, who is finishing his third four-year term, said he welcomes the challengers. “The more the merrier,” he said. “Might as well stir up the pot a little.”
The job's $14,000 annual salary is based on the township's budget, which is nearly $1 million this year, Mr. Miller said.
Clinton Township trustees meet twice a month, or more often, depending on issues, he said.
Also seeking the clerk's post are Wauseon residents Leslie Gype, Judy Warncke, Robert Wilson, and Alan Wyse, according to yesterday's filings with the board of elections.