Turlock City Councilwoman Amy Bublak will square off with appointed incumbent Don Gaekle for the seat of Stanislaus County Assessor this June.
The race is just one of many on the Statewide Direct Primary Election ballot, to be decided by voters June 3.
The Assessor is responsible for determining the taxable value of real property in Stanislaus County. In 2013, 178,000 different properties totaled $35 billion in assessed value, leading to approximately $350 million in property tax collected in the county.
The position pays $140,948.08 in annual salary and is a full time post. If Bublak wins, she would step down from both her posts as Modesto Police Officer and Turlock City Councilmember, she said.
“I am running to bring leadership, with a strong educational foundation to manage this office effectively for the taxpayers,” Bublak said.
Bublak holds a Master’s in Public Administration and Urban Government from California State University, Stanislaus. She currently serves as chair of the Stanislaus County Local Agency Formation Commission, and previously served as a member of the Turlock Planning Commission.
“With a Master's in Public Administration and Urban Government and my experience on Planning Commission, Turlock City Council and LAFCO dealing with real property and economic development issues every day, I know I can make a big difference for the taxpayers and small businesses that make our county work,” Bublak said. “This office needs to improve technologically and become more taxpayer friendly. I have the background to make it happen and challenge the bureaucracy when needed.”
Bublak has been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), the Stanislaus County Deputy Probation Officer Association, Former State Assembly Member Bill Berryhill, Turlock Mayor John Lazar, Turlock Irrigation District Director Rob Santos, Yosemite Community College District Board Member Abe Rojas, former Turlock Mayor Dr. Curt Andre, Turlock Mayoral Candidate Gary Soiseth, and Matt Swanson, owner of Pet Extreme.
Bublak will face Gaekle, who currently serves as Stanislaus County Assessor.
Gaekle was appointed to the position in October, after former Assessor Dave Cogdill Sr. accepted a job as chief executive officer of the California Building Industry Association. He previously served as assistant assessor, and was a property appraiser before that.
Gaekle grew up on a cattle ranch in Colorado before moving to Modesto and attending Davis High School. He attended Modesto Junior College, then graduated from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, with a degree in Bio-Agricultural Science and a minor in German.
Gaekle touts his “proven experience, knowledge and professionalism.” He says the Assessor’s office has provided “efficient, timely and customer focused” services during his tenure.
“You should be proud that the Stanislaus County Assessor's office has been a leader among California counties in proactively addressing the monumental changes that have occurred in the real estate market over the past seven years,” Gaekle said. “Our proactive team approach and use of cost effective technology has also made the Stanislaus County Assessor's office a statewide leader in cost efficiency. Our staff also has a long tradition of prompt, professional and courteous customer service.”
Gaekle has been endorsed by Garrad Marsh, Mayor of Modesto, County Supervisors Vito Chiesa, Terry Withrow, and Bill O’Brien, as well as three former Stanislaus County Assessors: Cogdill, Doug Harms, and Mike DeFerrari.
“Combined, they possess over 100 years of leadership in both fee appraisal work and in the assessment of property for taxation,” Gaekle said. “I am proud to have their confidence.”