ELECTION 2013: Mack wins tax collector in White Township
November 06, 2013 10:55 AM
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Republican Jeffrey Mack emerged the victor Tuesday in the White Township tax collector race, carrying all seven of the municipality’s precincts.

With 1,749 votes, Mack beat out Democrat Barbara Levine, who received 1,355.

Mack will take the seat of longtime tax collector Melvin O’Keefe, who is retiring Dec. 31 after 24 years in office.

Along with Levine, Mack advanced in a primary race packed with candidates. In May, nine Republicans and three Democrats threw their hats into the ring. Among those candidates were finance professionals, law enforcement agents and self-employed individuals.

The position, which serves the largest municipal tax base in Indiana County, can pay nearly $80,000 a year, with compensation being based on the amount of taxes collected annually.

Throughout their campaigns, both Mack and Levine touted their experience in accounting and finance.

Mack, a certified public accountant and partner at Evans and Mack CPA in Indiana Borough, said he would draw upon his skills and knowledge gained in accounting to increase the role of technology in township tax collection.

He also has worked as an auditor with Pittsburgh’s Ernst & Whinney and as a controller at Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Co.

Levine is a revenue administrative assistant in the county treasurer’s office, and, during her campaign, often noted her current work with reports and payments from all of Indiana’s tax collectors. She too said she would utilize new technology to help taxpayers.

Responding to the official election results Tuesday night, Mack called the race with Levine a “good, cordial competition.”

“She worked hard since the primaries and this general election,” he said. “I knew I had to work hard because she was really working hard on this campaign.”

Levine, too, said the race was a friendly one. She described the odds as being against her in the race because of White Township being a heavily Republican area.

“I do have the job experience and I had to try for it, so I did,” she said today. “I look forward to seeing him in our office, and I want to offer him help if he ever needs it.”

Levine said she was grateful for the experience, the support of family and friends and the chance to meet voters during her campaign.

Mack has promised residents that he would provide an accessible office location at the Canterbury Office Suites along Philadelphia Street and convenient hours. Besides a regular daytime schedule, he plans to offer some evening and weekend hours to accommodate taxpayers.

He has no plans to leave his current job, but has said that he will primarily focus on his tax collector duties while he serves. Some of his work-related duties at Evans and Mack will be handled by others.

Mack’s ambition to update technology in the tax collector’s office goes back to the beginnings of Evans and Mack. The accounting firm, he said, started using electronic tax filing and other systems when it opened in 2000.

Using Internet reminders and electronic filing “cabinets” are two of the ways Mack has said he would use technology to better serve taxpayers.

An Indiana University of Pennsylvania graduate and a county resident for more than 30 years, he has two children who live in Indiana.

Mack said he will aim to serve with the same level of conscientiousness that O’Keefe did as tax collector.

“I worked hard in the campaign and I will be working hard to really serve the taxpayers while doing the job and looking for ideas to serve them better as I get started and serve my term,” he said.

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