CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- During the West Virginia treasurer's campaign, incumbent John Perdue has said his office employs about a dozen "local government specialists" who work throughout the state and tout agency programs.
Republican challenger Mike Hall, who alleges the Treasurer's Office employees also are helping their boss get reelected, stated that Perdue has 22 government specialists on the state payroll.
The candidates seem to be counting the employees in different ways, according to a Treasurer's Office document obtained by the Gazette this week.
Perdue's office has 26 employees who work in the local government specialist division, the document shows.
Those include full- and part-time local government specialists, financial education coordinators, administrative assistants, and a deputy treasurer who coordinates the division.
The employees, who work out of their homes or one of four regional offices in West Virginia, deliver unclaimed property checks and market Treasurer's Office programs, such as the Smart 529 college savings plan.
"[Perdue] is literally running the largest marketing firm in the state," Hall said. "No other marketing firm that I'm aware of has that many employees."
George Manahan, a spokesman for Perdue's campaign, said the Treasurer's Office has 14 full-time and three part-time local government specialists, and a deputy treasurer who oversees the employees. Perdue's office also has three financial education coordinators and four administrative assistants who work in the local government specialist division.
"Local government specialists are the main reason that West Virginia has the country's best unclaimed property program," Manahan said.
The Treasurer's Office employees also support the state's 437 supplemental retirement program and help local governments conduct audits, he said.
"The programs, and others, are successful because local government specialists reach out to schools, parents, government agencies and individuals throughout the state," Manahan said. "They bring government to West Virginians no matter where they live. It's a great concept: Bring government to the people instead of forcing them to come to Charleston."
Perdue's agency has regional offices in Beckley, Huntington, Morgantown and Wheeling. Full-time local specialist salaries range from $32,000 to $79,500.