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FINANCE Tablack to have more responsibility in Fla. as clerk of Palm Beach County



Published: Sat, July 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Tablack will oversee a budget 100 times larger than Mahoning County's.

YOUNGSTOWN -- The clerk of Palm Beach County in Florida expressed the utmost confidence in her selection of George J. Tablack as chief financial officer of the clerk and comptroller office.

Tablack, 48, who has served as Mahoning County auditor for 181/2 years, announced Thursday that he was leaving that elected position July 31 to accept the appointed position in the Florida county, one of the state's largest.

Sharon Bock gave an overview of her office and what Tablack will be doing for the county.

She said the Florida Constitution established the clerk and comptroller office as a public trustee with legal and financial responsibilities.

The office provides services as the clerk of the circuit court, the county's chief financial officer and auditor, clerk to the board of county commissioners and county recorder.

Revenue oversight

Bock, who is elected, serves as the clerk of the circuit court and her job is to process and safeguard all court records, payment and evidence.

As CFO, Tablack will oversee the checks and balances for revenue and spending from the county's $3.8 billion budget.

In contrast, Mahoning County's budget this year was $39.9 million.

"Our office, as set up by the Florida Constitution, is to be the watchdog and the accountant, auditor and treasurer for the taxpayers," Bock said.

State law separates the functions of the policy-makers, which are Palm Beach County's seven commissioners, and the budget office.

"The commissioners set the budget, but we have the last say in spending the money," Bock said.

The clerk and comptroller's office is responsible for paying all the county's bills and handling its investments.

In Mahoning County, the auditor's office pays the bills; the treasurer's office handles the investments.

Top replacement

Bock, who was elected in November, said her chief information officer and chief financial officer were both retiring, and she began a nationwide search for replacements.

Stephen J. Stanec, Mahoning County's former director of information technology, was hired as chief information officer and began handling that department July 1.

Stanec mentioned to Tablack, a certified public accountant, that Bock was looking for someone with Tablack's financial skills to handle the CFO position, Bock said.

"He came down and interviewed for the position. He's certainly qualified to do this job," Bock said. "We are very excited he's going to take on this opportunity. I have 750 people in my office, so we're quite large."

Bock said Tablack will be dealing with a large budget with a pre-audit and audit component, so his "responsibility is immense."

"This was an opportunity for him to use all his skills. He will be a great asset to my office," Bock said.

Tablack made $79,745 as county auditor. He said he is negotiating his salary for his Florida job.




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