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Turmoil continues at emergency board meeting

An emergency meeting of the Geauga Park District Board of Commissioners was announced by e-mail on September 27 and took place on September 29. The meeting was called into Executive Session soon after the call to order.  The reason was “for dismissal of a public employee.” Upon return from Executive Session John Oros proposed a motion to terminate employee relationship with Michael Frederick, Finance Manager/Fiscal Officer/Treasurer. The four commissioners present voted yes.  No reason was given.

The next agenda item was appointment of Finance Manager/Fiscal Officer.  A motion was proposed by John Oros requesting to appoint Dawn Sweeney (current park employee) as interim Fiscal Manager, Fiscal Officer and Treasurer.  The four commissioners voted yes.  She was not introduced to those in attendance.

A Request for Proposals had been sent to a number of accounting firms seeking assistance with fiscal and financial management (assumedly due to firing of current Fiscal/Financial Manager and budget errors that led to loss of $1.9 million dollars in levy funds.)  This request was to allow Executive Director (John Oros) to enter into an agreement with a company for accounting services. One company responded, Marcum LLP. John Oros entertained a motion to accept the proposal of Marcum LLP. The proposal was accepted. There were no questions from the commissioners.

Protect Geauga Parks requested and received a digital copy of the proposal following the meeting. It is a 28- page proposal. It was unclear if the commissioners had read the proposal. While the cost of services was not discussed during the meeting, within the proposal this paragraph seems to answer that question:

“As a courtesy to you, Judge Grendell, the Geauga Park Board and the residents of Geauga County (where many of our professional staff reside) we will materially discount our standard hourly rates to assist everyone in this engagement and thereby charge a flat hourly rate of $250  per hour for the partner on site serving in a temporary capacity as your interim controller for a period not to exceed six months”

It is unknown exactly how many billable hours might be accumulated under this plan. However, if an average of twenty hours per week were billed at this rate over a six-month period, the total would come to $125,000. This is for services that have previously been provided by the county at no cost to the Park District budget.

A letter of engagement was not discussed at the meeting but seems to be the next step in accepting the proposal.  

2 replies »

  1. There surely should be something that can be done about this. For all the money it is going to cost, think of what that could do to be put into the Parks. Makes me ill. Anne Burke

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    Liked by 1 person

    • Grendell has been angling for years to use the Park District budget as his own personal piggy bank. When the County Auditor began to question the parks financial decisions and require proper receipts for purchases, he set the wheels in motion to remove the parks from county oversight. So here we are. No one on staff who is competent to manage the budget, no systems in place to provide accurate accounting and a big bill to an accounting firm for services that have been provided by the county at no charge.

      It’s interesting that the accounting firm mentioned Grendell specifically in their proposal. He has always insisted that he has nothing to do with management of the parks beyond appointment of the commissioners. It would appear that this accounting firm may have a historical relationship with Grendell. Perhaps another case of inside dealing?

      Liked by 1 person

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