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VOL. 123 | NO. 67 | Friday, April 4, 2008

Butler, Mattila Vie For Trustee Seat

By Bill Dries

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Email reporter | Comments ()

Bob Patterson may not be on the ballot in the Aug. 7 county general election.

But his presence is hard to miss in the special election for trustee that will be on the ballot.

Patterson died in January and leadership committees of both local political parties have selected their nominees in the last week to fill the remaining three years left in his term of office.

Interim Trustee Paul Mattila, who served as Patterson's legislative assistant, is the Democratic nominee. Certified Public Accountant Ray Butler Jr. is the GOP nominee. Butler is emphasizing his close ties to Patterson before Patterson ran for office and his role as a close adviser once Patterson was in office. He's also touting his 35 years of experience as a CPA, including a stint as a managing partner of a local accounting firm.

"A lot of the policy that he set and established was often discussed between the two of us as to how it should proceed," Butler told The Daily News. "Bob worked in CPA firms so he knew and understood the CPA ethic. Even though he wasn't licensed as one, he was as close to one as anybody could be and not be licensed."

In winning appointment to the job in February from the majority Democratic Shelby County Board of Commissioners, Mattila emphasized his work with Patterson, a Republican, in the office as well as Patterson's ability to cross party lines in running for office.

"My only goal ... is I made a commitment to Bob Patterson that I would do everything humanly possible to keep this team
together and move it forward," Mattila said then.

In winning the Democratic nod at a weekend meeting, Mattila emphasized the gains Democrats can make in countywide offices with his election. And he told them it would be an important step on the way to the 2010 county elections, when the bulk of county offices are up for grabs.

Butler is just as connected to the local Republican party structure. He served as Patterson's campaign treasurer.

"There were a lot of people who supported the kind of job that Bob was doing. ... They were already somewhat nervous about him not running again in 2014 or whenever he decided not to run. It just got brought to a head all that much sooner.

"I want to try to convey to the voters that I can continue that same honesty and integrity that Bob brought to that office," Butler said. "There is between $4 (billion) and $6 billion dollars that passes through that office. You've got to have somebody in there that knows how to manage it and is going to look after it with the public interest in mind."

PROPERTY SALES 74 196 20,828
MORTGAGES 86 244 23,989
BUILDING PERMITS 138 453 43,046
BANKRUPTCIES 64 174 13,354