Treasurer: Niles books reconciled through Feb.
By JORDAN COHEN
Niles has complied with a state order to reconcile its financial records and is up to date for the first time in several months, according to interim Treasurer Steve Telego.
“We have reconciled February’s records and will start working on March finances at the end of this month,” Telego told The Vindicator. “A project accountant from the state who reviewed [February’s reconciliation] told us, ‘It looks good.’”
The city, in fiscal emergency since October 2014, was sharply criticized by its two fiscal supervisors and state Auditor Dave Yost last month for failing to reconcile its records in compliance with state law. Yost subsequently announced his office would reconcile the records “in the short term” at no cost to the city.
At the time of Yost’s announcement, financial statements for January, which under law must be completed by the 15th of the following month, had not been reconciled. The treasurer at that time, Janet Rizer Jones, had resigned and only one employee remained in the treasurer’s office. The employee had not been trained.
The state accountant balanced the January books, but it was up to the city to balance February’s records.
Telego, appointed to the interim position by Mayor Thomas Scarnecchia late last month, vowed to The Vindicator to be cross-trained in reconciliation and require the same for his staff, now consisting of two employees.
Telego, whose position is part-time, kept his word.
“My staff and I took a team approach, and we were all cross-trained,” he said. “We have a firm understanding of how it is to be done.”
Had the city not complied, it faced the imposition of state-imposed penalties, which likely would have worsened its fiscal emergency status and outlook for recovery.
Telego described reconciliation as “complicated and intensive, but the important thing is that we’ve balanced.”
Telego remains an interim treasurer pending a vote next Tuesday by the Niles Democratic Precinct Committee to approve his appointment. The position pays a yearly salary of $7,500.