Judge removes Deborah Drawl as Mecca Township fiscal officer
By Ed Runyan
Judge Andrew Logan of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court ruled to remove Deborah Drawl as Mecca Township fiscal officer Thursday, citing her unwillingness to accept training from other area fiscal officers.
The judge said Drawl “failed to utilize the training offered through Howland and Canfield Township fiscal officers,” and “even today has failed to remedy the unauditable status of the records.”
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office filed a removal action with the court on behalf of the Ohio Auditor’s Office after problems with the financial records became apparent in February 2017.
In a news release Thursday, the auditor’s office said the “citizens of Mecca Township deserved competent leadership. We are pleased the court agreed with our position and that of the Attorney General’s Office, but we take no joy in this.”
The problems for Drawl began in February 2017 when a representative for the accounting firm Perry & Associates visited Drawl to begin the 2016 state audit and discovered the financial records were in disarray. It later called the records “unauditable.”
Drawl acknowledged that she lacked the knowledge to correct the problems but appeared willing to try to fix them, the judge said.
“The court finds there was no evidence ... of an absolute malicious refusal to perform her tasks as fiscal officer. However, the evidence was overwhelming that Drawl was simply unable to perform the tasks due to a lack of knowledge on her part,” the judge said.
Drawl, who took office in April 2016, filed an incomplete financial report at the end of January 2017 but did not submit a corrected one until Jan. 24, 2018, the judge noted – “nearly one year later.”
At her hearing, Drawl and her attorney argued that the township trustees stood in the way of her getting the training she needed by refusing to pay for it.
But the judge said Drawl had the opportunity to get training from other sources and refused to accept it.