Republicans seeking nomination for Mansfield finance director

Republicans seeking nomination for Mansfield finance director

Mark Abrams says he has been building for this position during his 28-year career with the City of Mansfield.

Kelly Blankenship has done the job before and says she’s ready to do it again.

Abrams and Blankenship are the two Republicans vying for city finance director in the May 2 primary election. The winner will face Democrat Jon Van Harlingen in the general election.

Current Finance Director Linn Steward is not able to run again because of term limits. She is running for mayor.

Abrams, 49, is a Mansfield native. He has been working his way up the city ladder for the last 28 years.

Abrams started off as a corrections officer at the old city jail before becoming a 911 dispatcher. He was president of the local AFSCME union for six years.

Mark Abrams

For the past 10 years, Abrams has been superintendent of the city’s parks department.

“I’ve worked on the safety side of things,” he said. “I have a pretty good understanding of how the city works. I’ve dealt with a budget for most of my career.

“I’ve always wanted to run for an office. I have experience in managing people; I’ve worked with most of the candidates.”

Blankenship has been finance director before

Kelly Blakenship

Blankenship was the city’s finance director from 2007-11. She lost her re-election bid to Steward by fewer than 20 votes. For the last five years, she has been executive director of Wayfinders Ohio, formerly Harmony House, the city’s homeless shelter.

While attending Coastal Carolina University, Blankenship switched her focus from marketing to accounting.