Obtaining to stay as a financial adviser | Local News

A special meeting Monday of the Lawrence County Wage Board also reported a changing of the guard in the county comptroller’s office.

The council voted 3-0 to keep Comptroller David Gettings on as a paid consultant, after Gettings, with a moving farewell, handed in his letter of resignation from his elected public office, effective August 2.

By law, the chief assistant comptroller, David Prestopine, becomes acting comptroller in his place. Prestopine worked in the County Comptroller’s Office for 23 years and was the Chief Deputy for about 20 of those years, having also served under former Comptroller Mary Ann Reiter.

Gettings was first elected as Comptroller 14 years ago.

“Fourteen years ago I had the honor and privilege of being elected Comptroller of Lawrence County and being elected in January 2008,” he said. He said he announced his retirement before this year expired with careful timing so that voters could choose his successor in the 2021 election.

He said he would support Prestopine for his seat and called on the Republican Party to nominate Prestopine as his candidate for the November ballot.

“As chief deputy, he’s been with me every step of the way,” Gettings said.

The commissioners, as three other voting board members, approved a resolution to hire Gettings as a financial consultant for the remainder of this year at a salary of $2,500 per month, until January 2022. The position includes full insurance coverage which will be paid for 100% by Gettings and it will be phased out on February 1.

Gettings abstained from voting. He said in a phone conversation Friday that he decided to retire early for health and other personal reasons, but would continue to run his business, Gettings Financial Group LLC.

“This is a matter of continuity of government,” said commissioner and council chairman Morgan Boyd. “We are exceptionally confident in a smooth transition, but this is one more measure we can put in place.”

He said he was grateful Gettings was willing to accept the position, which will be funded from the line item for the comptroller’s salary.

Prestopine as acting controller will receive a pro-rated amount through December of an annual salary of $74,860.63. This includes $5,000 that the salary council approved for him as a permanent stipend for his role as acting salary council secretary.

Prestopine is a registered Republican.

A special election will be held during the November 2 general election, to choose someone who will serve for the next four years.

Susan Kite, deputy director of voter registration and elections, said the office sent letters to the Republican, Democratic, Libertarian and Green parties asking them to submit nominations for the Nov. 2 ballot for the position. Each party can nominate a candidate for the ballot.

Whoever is elected would serve the remaining two years of Gettings’ term.

“It’s something we’ve been talking about for about a week,” Boyd said of Gettings’ impending retirement. “When we came on board last January, we bumped into each other a bit, I think. But if the stewards and the controller agreed on everything, someone is not doing their job.”

He thanked Gettings for his service to the county, his friendship, “and for always being willing and able to make those difficult decisions and to keep the county and this council at a higher level of service.”

“Anyone who knows me knows I can’t mince words,” Gettings replied. “Therefore, I am doing what I think is right. By leaving now, it allows voters to stand in the election to decide who will serve.”

Boyd said that in the meantime, before the November election and hopefully after, he was confident that Prestopine would continue Gettings’ legacy in running the comptroller’s office.

“We clashed and our opinions were different, but we respected each other,” commissioner Loretta Spielvogel told Gettings. “I am grateful for your time here and look forward to working with Mr. Prestopine.”

Vogler said he knew Gettings from working in the First Federal Plaza building and would occasionally see him around the building, before Gettings was elected in 2008.

Vogler became commissioner in 2004, shortly before a scandal broke over former treasurer Gary Felasco’s shady financial dealings and misuse of a county-owned cellphone.

“It took a lot of a lot of people,” he said. “It took a long time to put an end to this scandal. Then we had the task of restoring confidence in this office, and you did a lot of good things.”

He credited Gettings for his leadership in getting the pension board to fully fund the pension fund.

“You have restored confidence in our government through your professionalism. Our friendship will continue,” he added, wishing him a long and healthy retirement.

Vogler continued that with Prestopine leading the office, “We can assure the public that the transition will be smooth. I don’t think we’ll see any difference in terms of the smoothness.”

Gettings will remain busy in retirement from County.

“I want to do more things with my son’s foundation,” he said. The Albert P. Gettings Memorial Foundation was established in memory of young Gettings, a 27-year-old Marine Corps corporal who lost his life in the line of duty on January 5, 2006 in Fallujah, Iraq. The fund, established in 2002, was created to provide funds for scholarships and community betterment projects.

“We were fortunate enough to be at (Marine Corps) Camp LeJeune in June, where they named a room after Albert,” Gettings said.

He and his brother-in-law, local musician Doug McIltrot, are also preparing to record an album they’ve been working on for several years featuring songs about the military. Gettings said he wrote a number of songs which McIltrot set to music.

“It’s time to move on and let the next generation of people take my place,” he said.

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