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Campbell’s poor bookkeeping remains a point of contention



Published: Tue, September 13, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

The former chairman of the state-appointed fiscal oversight commission that has been operating in the city of Campbell since 2004 was asked in April by Finance Director Sherman Miles if he could get the state auditor’s office to help straighten out the books.

“I told him ‘no,’ I wasn’t gonna pay the state to reconcile the books. That’s his job,” Paul Marshall recalled. Was Marshall just being a smart alec?

Absolutely not. He and other members of the oversight commission have done yeoman work to help Campbell climb out of its financial hole and to now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Indeed, Mayor Bill VanSuch would like ask the state to release the city from state-mandated fiscal emergency by December. But VanSuch knows that so long as the city’s ledgers and the bank statements are not reconciled, his request will fall on deaf ears.

In light of the problems Miles has been having with the task that Marshall said every finance director in the state of Ohio performs as a matter of course, the removal of the fiscal emergency designation may be wishful thinking.

“I don’t think it’s too late,” the mayor said recently. “But he’s [Miles] gonna have to put the time in. He’s got to do what it takes.”

Miles did secure the services of a consultant to show him how to proceed and paid him $40 an hour out of his own pocket. But the consultant is no longer involved.

So, now it’s up to the city’s finance director to bring the books up to date and in line with the bank statements, as required by the state. It does not inspire confidence when Miles admits that he was not taught how to do reconciliations.

Fiscal emergency was declared seven years ago by the state auditor’s office because Campbell’s operating budget was gushing red ink and city officials did not have the ability to turn things around. As a result, the oversight commission has controlled the city’s finances. It has directed expenditures and guided the mayor and council on how to increase revenue. Last year, Campbell was on the verge of economic collapse when residents approved a levy that has stabilized the budget. With this stabilization has come the notion that the city could get out of fiscal emergency by December.

Reassurance

But even if the state auditor’s office approves the five-year budget projections that show revenues and expenditures being in balance each year, officials in Columbus will have to be convinced that Campbell city government has the ability and expertise to prevent another financial collapse.

So when the finance director admits that he does not have the expertise to reconcile the city’s books with the bank statements and acknowledges that his predecessor also did not perform this task adequately, the question that will be asked by state officials is this: Can Campbell city government be trusted to manage its finances properly? It will be up to Miles, Mayor VanSuch and others to prove that they have the ability to keep Campbell on the right track.


Comments

1campbellcitizen(25 comments)posted 3 years ago

I find this ironic. The man states he need's help, after all there are more people in the finance department that handle the finances other than him, yet they are not involved in this? Am I the only one who finds this odd? Also if the man went to Mayor VanSuch and council and asked for help why did he meet resistance? Why was he not given the help? I mean come on are you really serious, if you want to get out of fiscal emergency as the Mayor states, why are you not doing everything in your power to help Mr. Miles accomplish the task? My opinion is the Mayor and some other council members want Mr. Miles to fail. Why is the only focus on the reconciliation (which is important I wont deny that) when other things also have to be done by other departments (including the Mayor) to get out of fiscal emergency?
My opinion is simple, this Mayor and some of the council members want Mr. Miles to fail so they can remove him. You want to know why? Well I'll tell you, he follows protocol, he doesn't just sign his name to things that are not within the guidelines of the state or our own legislation. He doesn't turn a blind eye on things as apparently others have. If your serious about achieving solvency work with him, not against him, have the other perople in the finance department involved in the reconciliation of the books, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure that out!
And my final thought is this, with election around the corner for mayor, I remind myself who was mayor and city administrator when we went into fiscal emergency, which are the two that sit at the head of the city now just their roles are reversed, is this the experience I want? I dont think so.

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2concerncit(12 comments)posted 3 years ago

Why would an employee, who cannot preform the tasks required of him, and has admitted so, remain on the job? With all the professed desire to emerge from fiscal emergency, why not remove one of the remaining obstacles? If we hired a painter, and he couldn't paint, wouldn't we find someone else? When the previous mayor tried to replace him, council would not allow it. Do they know something that we don't? I wish they would tell us what it is.

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3Billybob21(96 comments)posted 3 years ago

Very well said campbellcitizen. Sounds like Mr VanSuch and his right hands and fingers put the city in fiscal emergency, and are now trying to put the blame on someone else so they can get more votes. Once again another political move. Wow all these Political moves Mr VanSuch must be afraid of something? But i know one thing he has more moves then i see when i watch dancing with stars.

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4mrblue(989 comments)posted 3 years ago

VanSuch is clueless-----Dill runs the city. A man with may years in city politics----knows nothing and has done nothing. A man who was Mayor and who was voted out because he did nothing. A city council that is worthless and brought Miles in. A lesson in how to drive a city into bankruptcy. These people are in it for themselves--------not for the betterment of the city residents. Wake up Campbell-----you are dying!!

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