Assessor candidates discuss technology, staff

As Dan Roe and Jody Paschal run for Callaway County assessor, the position responsible for placing value on Callaway’s personal property accounts and land parcels, the candidates make it a battle of technology, time-honored experience and fresh ideas.

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Dan Roe

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Jody Paschal

Staffing and technology have been a recurring theme in candidate forums and interviews for the Callaway County assessor’s office leading up to the election, and for good reason. Incumbent Democrat Dan Roe has said the office is progressing further to a paperless system, which he said will help things run more efficiently.

Roe is serving his first term as assessor, and has worked in an assessor’s office since the early 1980s, when he began in Pettis County. Following tenure at an engineering firm out of Columbia, he came to Callaway to work in the assessor’s office in 1996 under his predecessor, long-standing county assessor Ron Craighead. Roe said that improvements to the office’s computer system was his first priority when he was elected four years ago.

“The first thing I did was to start upgrading our software. It was purchased in 1995 right before I became an employee, and it was very outdated. The company had gone out of business in early ‘96 so we had no support.”

Roe said the upgraded software allowed the office to automatically sort forms and scan them into the computer system to make for easier access and handling.

This would be challenging Republican Jody Paschal’s first term as an elected official should the ballots declare him the winner Nov. 6. A 1996 graduate of North Callaway High School and 2001 graduate of William Woods University, the born Callawegian’s experience in the private sector has included employee and owner at Gidley’s Shoe Store, a speech and theatre teacher at North Callaway and a worker at Quintessential Catering. He is also the president of the National Churchill Museum and is involved in many other community groups.

Paschal said his background in business would allow him bring “customer service” back to the office, and that he was used to working with tight budgets. Paschal said the office’s focus should be more on personnel than on software.

“The effectiveness of the office is determined by the quality of the personnel. They need to be trained on whatever computer system or technology they’re using in that office, because as we know technology is continually changing and they need to continually educate themselves on that changing technology.” Paschal also said he would evaluate the office “objectively” upon being elected.

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