WARREN Auditor: Panel made mistakes

The commission was authorized to enter the agreement, one of its members says.
WARREN -- The city's Civil Service Commission erred when it agreed to let an Akron company create an employment test for police sergeants.
That's what Auditor David Griffing said this week, explaining he can't pay Ramsey and Associates $15,800 because the commission only has about $9,000 in its budget.
The three-member panel appointed by Mayor Hank Angelo also did not seek bids for the work, Griffing said.
Work costing more than $15,000 must have city council's authorization to advertise and seek competitive bids.
Also, the commission never submitted a purchase order, which must be approved for purchases in excess of $100, the auditor noted.
Was authorized: Atty. James Fredericka said Thursday the commission was authorized by the city to enter the agreement.
"We discussed it with the auditor and mayor," he said. "I don't anticipate this will be a problem." He didn't elaborate.
The test will gauge candidates' knowledge, skills and ability.
An agreement between the company and the commission was signed in May by company president Pat Ramsey and the Rev. Edgar Fisher, a commission member.
The Rev. Mr. Fisher said Wednesday he wasn't sure what happened with the agreement. He was unavailable Thursday. Angelo declined to comment and commission member John DiCenso deferred to Fredericka.
The agreement said Ramsey would prepare, administer and grade the test.
Hiring after layoffs: The city is looking to hire police officers and firefighters to replace those who did not return to work after layoffs were issued because of financial woes the last few years.
Layoffs were recalled when voters in May approved a 0.5-percent income tax increase.
Fred Harris, city safety-service director, said this week the situation will not delay the hiring process.
The city hopes to hire seven firefighters and 12 police officers by January, he said, explaining that the testing and assessment process takes time.
Griffing said he sent the commission a detailed letter July 23, explaining the error. He said the commission has not replied.
Explained process: "I've met with them before about this and I explained how it has to be done," he said. "So I'm not sure why we're having this problem. I've always made my staff available to help."
The state's requirement a few years ago was that bids must be sought for all projects costing more than $10,000. The commission at that time contracted with Ramsey and Associates for a $12,000 project. It did not seek bids.

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