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Published: Thursday, 8/28/2014 - Updated: 1 year ago

Appraiser in race to replace boss as top county auditor

Candidate says homeowners have complained about property values

Navarre Navarre
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge | Buy This Photo

John Navarre, the Republican nominee for Lucas County Auditor, kicked off his race to replace his boss Wednesday, promising not to run for any other office if he should win.

Mr. Navarre, 54, of South Toledo is a licensed appraiser under Democratic Auditor Anita Lopez. He was put on unpaid administrative leave by Ms. Lopez in March because state law prohibits classified county employees from running for political office. The election is Nov. 4.

Mr. Navarre said he brings insights from his 12 years in the auditor’s office, as well as from talking to prospective voters. Noting that he is a member of the United Auto Workers union that represents auditor employees, he said, “I will instill honesty and integrity to the auditor’s office.

“I am uniquely qualified for this position because I am an employee of the auditor’s office. I see first-hand what needs to be done,” Mr. Navarre said, though he did not provide any details.

“I am not a career politician. Leading the auditor’s office is a destination job, not a political stepping stone,” Mr. Navarre said. “I have no intentions of running for mayor, recorder, or whatever other political positions become available.”

Ms. Lopez, a former Lucas County recorder and former Toledo school board member, is seeking a third, four-year term. She ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Toledo in 2013, losing in the September primary after a bruising election contest against fellow Democrat Joe McNamara.

“I plan to serve my entire term if elected. I will not seek any other office,” Ms. Lopez said Wednesday.

Mr. Navarre said homeowners and fellow employees have complained about lowered property values under Ms. Lopez, with homeowners expressing concern about their homes’ resale values.

He blamed the lower values on a combination of blight and valuation decisions made by the Board of Revision, the arm of the auditor’s office that revises property values in response to appeals from property owners.

Ms. Lopez ran in 2006, accusing her predecessor of setting property values too high. She said property values were lowered, on average, to reflect the economic collapse of 2008.

“As the economy is getting a little better in certain areas and foreclosures get under control then you’ll see an increase in the stability of our economy. The market crashed and I was the auditor who made sure citizens were not overvalued because of that,” Ms. Lopez said.

As auditor, she said she would continue an emphasis on fair and equitable values and “excellent public service.” She cited the award given last week to her office for its 2013 clean financial report by state Auditor David Yost.

Mr. Navarre said he would be a watchdog for senior citizens and families, whose homes are often their biggest assets, that he would always be transparent, and that he would be a “hands-on auditor.”

Contact Tom Troy: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.

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