BELLEVILLE — A candidate for Belleville city treasurer has withdrawn from the election.
Kent G. McCoy said he withdrew his candidacy because the city's fiscal problems are more far-reaching than he envisioned.
McCoy's name will not appear on the April 9 ballot, the St. Clair County Clerk's Office said Thursday. McCoy filed paperwork to withdraw on Tuesday.
The deadline to withdraw was Jan. 31, but the clerk's office made an exception because the ballots were not finalized and printed yet.
McCoy said in a statement that the current administration fails to monitor redevelopment agreements, issues tax increment financing funds indiscriminately and neglects to prepare a long-term budget, among other issues.
"Unfortunately, it has become obvious that my plans to serve as treasurer on a part-time basis wouldn't allow me to even start to scratch the surface in terms of making the needed fiscal reforms, which would be unfair not only to the citizens of Belleville, but my clientele as well," McCoy said.
McCoy is a certified public accountant with McCoy & Associates LLC. He also is the brother of Belleville News-Democrat cartoonist Glenn McCoy.
Mayor Mark Eckert said Thursday he respectfully disagrees with McCoy's comments about the state of the city's finances.
McCoy's inaccurate statements would be corrected if he talks to the city's finance director, auditor or attends Finance Committee meetings, Eckert said.
"Mr. McCoy should have researched what the position really was to understand the scope of the work and responsibilities," Eckert said.
Anyone who spends just an hour in the treasurer's office knows that the job has responsibilities that require a full-time commitment, Eckert said.
McCoy announced in December that he planned to run with mayoral candidate Joe Hayden as part of the Unified Independent Coalition for All of Belleville.
At the time, McCoy said he believed the treasurer position is vital to a system of checks and balances but the role did not have to be full time.
Hayden, a Ward 5 alderman, said in December that McCoy would do the work on a part-time basis and donate the rest of the city salary to the Police Department.
Hayden said Thursday that he is saddened because McCoy would have been a tremendous asset to Belleville residents.
"He couldn't in good faith as a professional serve as a part time treasurer with all the things he's discovering is wrong with the city's finances and he couldn't do it full-time without giving up his private practice," Hayden said.
Even without McCoy, Hayden said his goals are still to bring in a CPA to work with the Finance Department and have an independent audit of the city's finances "to get a true and honest grasp of where the city stands."
McCoy's exit from the race leaves two candidates vying for the treasurer spot: Incumbent City Treasurer Jerry Turner and Dean Hardt, a Ward 4 alderman.
Turner is part of the Belleville Good Government Party that supports Eckert.
Hardt is aligned with mayoral candidate Phil Elmore, a Ward 7 alderman.
Elmore said McCoy made the right decision by withdrawing.
"It always seemed strange to me, the time he announced, that a CPA could possibly have the time to be a treasurer with the work load that a CPA goes through this time of year," Elmore said.
Elmore said some of the candidates on Hayden's ticket do not appear to have an idea how much commitment it takes to run and serve.
"They are trying to fill this ballot to give the apperance of a ballot but there doesn't seem to be a real plan to win an election," Elmore said. "There's no apparent follow through to win an election. Whether they took it seriously or not is questionable."
Hayden said all candidates part of the coalition are serious about running. Hayden said Elmore cannot criticize McCoy's initial intent to be a part-time treasurer when Elmore is considering eliminating the position altogether.
Elmore and Hardt have said they hope to assess the duties of the treasurer's office after they are elected to see if the position could be eliminated to save money. They will explore whether the treasurer's office could be consolidated with that of the finance director.
Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/BNDBelleville.