Republicans on Saturday appointed former Cincinnati City Councilman Charlie Winburn as Hamilton County treasurer for the next six months.
"If you don't know this, we just made history," Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou told the party's executive committee Saturday morning after they unanimously approved Winburn's appointment. "Charlie Winburn is the very first African-American to be county treasurer in 230 years of Hamilton County's history."
Winburn, a Republican from Mount Airy, lost a close race for treasurer last year to Democrat Jill Schiller by 7,000 votes, less than two percentage points.
But thanks to a quirk in Ohio law, Schiller's term doesn't start until September. The current treasurer, Republican Robert Goering, on Feb. 11 starts a term as a Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge.
That leaves Hamilton County in need of a short term treasurer.
Winburn was the only candidate considered Saturday by the executive committee.
"I will not let you all down, and I'm glad to be an American," Winburn said after receiving the nomination.
A few weeks earlier, Schiller had suggested Republicans appoint her as a show of bipartisanship.
"If we want to take the temperature down, we need to start by example to show we're willing to work together," Schiller said. "This is a great way to start that process."
Triantafilou responded on Twitter that Republicans would appoint a Republican.
That's what Hamilton County Republicans did on Saturday.
The chief duty of a county treasurer is to collect property taxes.
The treasurer, who makes $90,000 a year, oversees an office with an annual budget of $4.5 million and 23 full-time employees responsible for taking in and depositing all county revenue. A big part of that is property taxes, which the treasurer receives from taxpayers via mail, credit card, eCheck or payments made in person at the treasurer's office.
Winburn said he's already taken all the training courses through the state he needs to hit the ground running on Feb. 11. He pledged no employee in the office would lose their job during his tenure.
"I will work with the taxpayers to help save taxpayers' homes from being foreclosed during the pandemic," he said on Saturday. "And at the same time work to expand the tax base of our wonderful and great county."