BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF)

The contenders are both well-known names in the Ohio Valley.

Vince Gianangeli has 38 years of public service, most recently with the Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services.

Jerry Echemann was on the air on 7News for 28 years, was the voice of the greyhound races at Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack for ten years and he’s now completing his first term on the Belmont County Commission.

Gianangeli says his strongest asset is his fiscal expertise.

With a background in accounting, he says when he started at the Department of Job and Family Services, their finances were in the red.

“I started in March,” said Gianangeli. “In June of that year, the fiscal year closed and we had a $2.3 million deficit in our public assistance fund. That had to be repaid to the state. Sixteen years later when I left, I left them with a $16.3 million balance in public assistance, child support and Children’s Services.”

Gianangeli says he did the same as Colerain Township fiscal officer.

“I started out with a $400,000 fund balance,” he said. “Today, I have $1.8 million in a cash fund balance in the bank, and that is actually after purchasing a whole new Colerain Township complex.”

He has gotten the endorsement of five labor organizations.

Jerry Echemann, after one term on the commission, says he’s gotten to know the job and the residents on a first name basis.

“I have been endorsed by the local Belmont County Republican Party,” said Echemann. “I’m very proud of that. I don’t think that’s ever happened before. And I think it’s the party’s way of saying that I’ve done a good job.”

He says the commission has saved taxpayer dollars by dropping one senior services levy and reducing the 911 levy.

His priorities in the second term include new buildings for the health department and the records department.

“They really deserve new buildings,” he noted. “It’s the responsibility of the county commission to give them a good location they can operate in and we would like to do that very much.”

The election is on May 3.