Judge to rule soon on whether to remove Mecca Township fiscal officer Deborah Drawl

Staff report


A judge had an additional hearing Thursday to allow the attorney for Mecca Township’s fiscal officer another opportunity to argue why Deborah Drawl should not be removed from office, but the hearing didn’t appear to have been necessary.

Judge Andrew Logan of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court asked the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Atty. Mike Rossi, who represents Drawl; and an attorney representing Mecca Township if they had any witnesses to present, and all said they did not.

The hearing was over in about five minutes.

Rossi said he would be filing one more brief in the case by today, and Judge Logan said he would rule on the case “very soon” after that.

Rossi did point out that over the past two months Drawl has corrected two of the township fiscal deficiencies the state reported May 25, 2017 – a financial reconciliation and a 2016 financial statement.

Atty. Steven Voigt of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, however, pointed out that if those records turn out to be corrected, they were still reported about five months late, and other problems are still not fixed.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office initiated the expedited removal action of Drawl in common pleas court last year after the Ohio Auditor’s Office declared the Mecca Township financial records inauditable.

Judge Logan had a daylong hearing Nov. 30 during which several witnesses talked about the bad condition of the financial records. Also at the hearing, Rossi argued that the reason they are inauditable is that the township trustees would not provide the money for Drawl to get the needed training.

Over the next three weeks, the parties filed legal briefs regarding the facts of the case and regarding the expedited nature of the proceedings.

Judge Logan scheduled Thursday’s hearing Jan. 2 after deciding that the expedited nature of the case had not given Rossi enough time to prepare.

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