McFarland true public servant

Washington County resident said farewell Friday to a public servant who at one point was named the best in the state at the work he was doing. Only a few short years ago, Bill McFarland was named Outstanding County Auditor of the Year by the County Auditors’ Association of Ohio. Now as he steps away from the position and into retirement, his successor Matthew Livengood has enormous shoes to fill. (Though, of course, we are confident he will do so admirably.)

McFarland valued courtesy and respect, and took a straightforward approach to his job that has earned his office the kind of reputation rare among government entities. Of course McFarland is quick to point to those around him as having helped solidify that reputation.

“I can honestly say that each day I’ve been here I’ve been proud of the work my team produces,” he said.

For early four decades, McFarland has worked for the rest of us, and his time at the auditor’s office has included modernization and streamlining that, combined with his effort to earn the public’s trust, has meant that office truly does serve Washington County.

It’s not just about crunching numbers (although McFarland oversaw the improvement in doing that, too), it’s about dealing with people.

Among the lessons passed on to Livengood was “Get to know the people you interact with. Your employees, of course, but also township trustees and fiscal officers, school treasurers, and others that you have contact with on a regular basis,” Livengood said. “Take it beyond just knowing their names, but also knowing a little about their lives.”

Certainly McFarland has earned the rest — adventure — he will pursue in retirement. Washington County residents are grateful to have had such a public servant working for them, and glad to know Livengood had the opportunity to learn so much.

Thank you, sir.