By LISA WHALEY
Michael Hartman is a strong believer in a grandparent’s wisdom.
“My grandparents had a big influence on my upbringing. And they actually gave me insight in how to treat and respect others,” Hartman said in a recent interview with the Herald & Tribune.
That lesson, as well as the importance of giving back to his community, is something that Hartman said he has tried to follow all his life. It is also, he believes, a key part of this next chapter, his candidacy for Register of Deeds in Washington County.
“I just feel like its important to utilize our resources to their fullest extent,” Hartman explained. And he believes he is the man to do it.
Owner and operator of Hartman Properties for the past 17 years, this Register of Deeds candidate has become well-versed in anything related
to rental property, home remodeling and home building.
And, as a local businessman, he has had to operate efficiently and within budget, while successfully meeting the needs of his clients – no matter what the circumstances.
This background, Hartman believes, is invaluable as a new Register of Deeds.
But his quest involves so much more than that, he said.
“It has been important for me to give back to the community whenever I can,” Hartman stressed. As chairman of the Washington ton County Republican Party, Hartman was known for turning traditional Lincoln Day fundraisers into an opportunity for badly needed community food donations. Reagan Day Picnics became an ideal location to collect donations for local school supplies.
In much the same way, Hartman said, his role as Register of Deeds would be more community service than a means to an end or the pursuit of a title.
“At the end of the day, I don’t want to be a career politician,” Hartman stressed. If elected, he said, while he already has steps in place to hand the running of Hartman Properties over to his partners, he would be looking to serve only as long as he felt he was needed.
But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t already been making making up a list of goals should he be elected..
“The first thing that I want to say is I will keep the staff,” Hartman said. “I simply want to redirect the focus of the office.”
For this task, Hartman believes a fresh perspective is crucial.
“Sometimes, when we are in and around a situation a lot, we tend to become stagnant and not think outside the box,” he said.
And while Hartman only had praise for departing register Ginger Jillton, he thinks it may be time for a change in direction.
“Any organization or business is only as good as its leader,” he said. “The leader sets the tone of the office.”
According to Hartman, his tone as leader would be to work to provide professional service, as well make sure the office was up-to-date and equipped with state-of-the software.
More importantly, however, a fine-tuned focus on the office’s responsibility to each and every citizen of Washington County would continually be stressed.
“If you are being paid to do something, you do it the best that you can,” Hartman said, repeating some more of the wisdom of his grandparents. The Register of Deeds office is doing the business of the citizen’s of Washington County with funds provided by the county, he said, and the register and the staff must be able to do it well.
“Any office needs to be run in an effective customer-focused manner,” Hartman said. If elected, he said, his will be an office of fiscal restraint, where the customer is truly the most important party.
“The customer is the big focus,” he said.
Early voting for the May 1 Republican Primary Election will begin on April 11.