Fiscal emergency release doubtful

By Jeanne Starmack


The chairwoman of a state panel that oversees Campbell while it’s in fiscal emergency does not believe the city can ask for release from that status by year’s end.

The city had hoped to do so, and Mayor Bill VanSuch said Tuesday he still hopes it’s possible.

“I’m not throwing in the towel,” he said after a meeting of the oversight commission, which is made up of state, city and citizen representatives.

Sharon Hanrahan, a financial planning commission administrator with the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, chairs the city’s commission. She said after a commission meeting Tuesday morning that there is too much work left to do before the city can ask for release.

Campbell has been in fiscal emergency since 2004, and was even told it might have to shut down before voters passed a levy last year.

Now it has been able to project a positive five-year financial forecast, one criterion it must meet before getting out of fiscal emergency.

But it also must fix some accounting methods noted in a 2007 state auditor report. It also has to make significant progress in reconciling monthly bank statements, which are reconciled only through April 2010.

“I just don’t believe that from where we’re sitting now we can ask for release in December,” Hanrahan said. “We’re looking at waiting until next December.”

Commission members went over a list of deficiencies that haven’t been corrected in the city’s accounting ledgers, revenue activity, purchasing process, cash disbursements, payroll processing, capital assets and supplies inventory, cash management and investing, financial reporting and reporting of official proceedings.

Hanrahan noted that progress has been made in each of those categories; deficiencies have been corrected or are in the process of being corrected.

“We’ve made progress, but we’ve got a ways to go,” she said.

Deficiencies not corrected include employees’ completing and signing time cards. City administrator Jack Dill said there is accountability in the payroll process, with department supervisors signing time sheets and bringing them to him.

“Then the finance director signs [the sheets] and then [they] go to the payroll person who fills out the check,” Dill said.

Hanrahan said she believes the auditors want to see more of a paper trail.

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