By Linda Collins
For the Herald
ENON — The Village of Enon is taking steps to ensure the village’s fiscal official has the necessary knowledge and experience for the job.
During Tuesday, Jan. 12 village council meeting, Enon Mayor Tim Howard conducted the first reading of a proposed ordinance that would establish an appointed position of village fiscal officer that would replace the elected clerk/treasurer position when Enon Clerk/Treasurer Diana McCubbin’s term expires at the end of March.
“There has been a lot of informal discussion for close to 10 years about changing the village position of clerk/treasure from an elected position to an appointed one,” Howard said. “I think the consensus is to change this positon at this time, if the council wishes.”
According to Section 3 of the proposed ordinance, the fiscal officer position would be appointed by the mayor and would become effective by a majority vote of council. The fiscal officer would serve at the pleasure of the mayor and council and could be removed at any time, without cause, by the mayor with the consent of a majority of council. The fiscal officer also may be removed by a three-fourths vote of council without the consent of the mayor.
“This move will help the village to fill the upcoming vacancy of the clerk/treasurer position with a qualified fiscal officer, in accordance with Ohio Revised Code 733.262,” Howard said.
Howard said the appointed village fiscal officer would continue to perform the duties provided by law for the village clerk/treasurer and any other duties consistent with the nature of the office.
McCubbin filed a nomination petition in 2015 to appear on the November ballot as a candidate for village clerk/treasurer, but her petition was rejected after the Clark County Board of Elections determined her petition failed to comply with state filing requirements.
“My intent is to have Diana appointed to this office whether this proposed ordinance is passed or not.” Howard said. “I want to make sure that everyone is clear on that.”
McCubbin, who was serving as village councilwoman at the time, was first elected village clerk/treasurer in November 2011 after then Clerk/Treasurer Debra Maurer opted not to run for a third term in office.
Shortly after taking office in April 2012, McCubbin said she was unable to balance the village’s books, and reported a discrepancy of more than $227,700 in the books to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office in September 2012.
The sheriff’s office, with the assistance of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations, launched an investigation and concluded from their findings that Maurer allegedly altered the village records to hide the theft of village funds and subsequently, deposited them into her personal bank account, according to court records.
Maurer was charged with one count of theft in office and 12 counts of tampering with evidence for allegedly stealing $39,450 from the village between 2008-2012.
Maurer pleaded guilty in June 2013 to one felony count of theft in office and one count of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, as part of a plea agreement reached with the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office. As part of the agreement, Maurer agreed to pay $54,000 in restitution to the village. She also served one year in prison.
Howard said the theft led village officials to put in place a more effective checks and balances system as a safeguard. An audit for 2013 and 2014, through the Ohio Auditor’s Office, was conducted and successfully completed, and a report was released on Dec. 1, 2015.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.