Former Centerville Clerk-Treasurer Richard Tincher, left, congratulates Sarah Rice after Centerville Republicans chose her as his replacement. Photo by Millicent Martin Emery

Centerville has a new clerk-treasurer, but she isn’t new to the work.  

Sarah Rice, a Centerville native who has been serving as deputy clerk for nearly two years — and briefly as interim clerk — stepped forward to apply for her boss’ position. Richard Tincher resigned in April for health reasons.  

Wayne County Republican Party Chair Gary Saunders organized a caucus for Centerville’s Republican precinct committeepersons to consider the applicants’ credentials. Rice was the only applicant.  

Marie Elstro, Aaron Roberts and Janice Roberts unanimously voted for the Centerville resident during the Tuesday, May 21, caucus. Rice marked her two-year work anniversary with the town on Thursday, May 23. 

Tincher attended the meeting to recommend Rice, saying she has “proven herself as a leader and stepped up to the plate every time I asked.”

Calling her “the perfect person” to become clerk, Tincher noted Rice has performed very well during a trying time. 

Rice has juggled the clerk’s many responsibilities during Tincher’s absence, in addition to extra tasks related to renovation of the former U.S. Bank branch into the municipal building. She’s hopeful that final projects such as cleaning and installation of air conditioning and carpet will be complete in about a month. 

Tincher called Rice’s decision making “amazing,” and said her attention to detail is needed for the clerk’s office.   

While addressing party officials, Rice returned the praise, saying she’s learned a lot from Tincher and is very thankful for his guidance. 

Tincher went through a similar process to become clerk in September 2021. Republicans appointed him to complete Susan Dillman’s four-year term. He faced no opposition in the 2023 election. 

Although Tincher’s time to depart town hall came sooner than either expected, she said she’s eager to continue learning and will do the job to the best of her ability.

During the transition, Rice is taking a summer break from her studies at Indiana University East. She’s working toward a degree in business administration with an accounting minor. 

Rice lived in Centerville until eighth grade, when her family moved to the Fountain City area, and she graduated from Northeastern High School in 2004. She later moved back to Centerville, moved away briefly and returned.

Before working for the town, Rice was a stay-at-home mom for 11 years, then became a paraprofessional at local elementary schools and later a site coordinator at Rose Hamilton Elementary for Communities in Schools.

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A version of this article appeared in the May 29 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.