Letter to the editor—7/1/21

Those who foot bill ask questions

The League of Women Voters of Geauga believes citizens have a right to know what their government bodies are doing, for what reason and at what cost.  

The Geauga Park District recently exercised its right under ORC 1545.07 to hire its own treasurer, thereby forgoing the free accounting and financial services provided to the GPD by the elected Geauga County auditor and treasurer.  To be crystal clear, taxpayers already pay county personnel to provide fiscal services to the various county departments and agencies.  

Under the  GPD’s new arrangement, the county retains control over annual budget approval.  However, day-to-day oversight of accounting and financial transactions moves from the locally elected county auditor to the Ohio Auditor of State’s office in Columbus.  The GPD should explain how this arrangement benefits taxpayers. 

As to why the GPD made this decision, nowhere in their 2020 meeting minutes do we see complaints or discussion about county services. There is no deliberation in open session about the need to self-manage fiscal operations. It is completely unclear why, after exiting the executive session during their Dec. 18, 2020 meeting, the GPD passed a resolution to advertise for a treasurer.  The GPD should explain its rationale – and its deliberation process.

Although we don’t know what the total cost will be to provide the GPD with all of the accounting and financial services that county employees now provide for free, we do know the GPD’s new treasurer is costing taxpayers an extra $69,014.40 plus benefits that they were not paying before.  The GPD should provide justification for the extra burden to taxpayers.

The League of Women Voters of Geauga believes those who foot the bill get to ask the questions.To that end we have offered to host a public forum where constituents can engage productively on this topic with their government leaders.  Follow us for updates.

Shelly Lewis, president

League of Women Voters of Geauga

Categories: Commentary, News

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