M'ville creates non-elected fiscal officer as 'safety net'

Aaron Krause • Jun 12, 2014 at 8:15 AM

The village wants to ensure that a future fiscal official has the necessary knowledge and experience to comply with increased state requirements.

Therefore, council voted Monday to create the position of village fiscal officer, which will eventually take the place of the clerk/treasurer position.

Municipal councils appoint fiscal officers, as opposed to clerk/treasurers, who are elected by voters.

Council on Monday passed an ordinance creating the fiscal officer position on its third and final reading. Although the legislation will take effect in 30 days, clerk/treasurer Bonnie Beck will remain in that position until her elected term is up in April 2016.

Beck said she has the necessary training and knowledge to comply with the increased state requirements. By creating the position of fiscal officer now, it will give council the ability to appoint someone that also meets those requirements, said Beck, who added she will apply for the position.

"It's just a matter of the council and the mayor knowing that they have someone in that position that has that education and has that knowledge," Beck said. "The job here is very multi-functional."

Beck said it's not limited to budgetary duties; it includes utility billing, income tax preparation and data entry in addition to clerk duties.

Beck said the trend throughout the state is for municipalities to switch from the elected clerk/treasurer position to the appointed fiscal officer.

"It's happening more and more across the state of Ohio because the state requirements and restrictions have changed so much," Beck said.

At the last Ohio Municipal Clerks Association conference she attended, only 8 out of the little more than 70 people in attendance indicated they're still in the elected position, Beck said.

"I was surprised," she said. "I knew that it was happening but I was surprised that there were that few of us left."

Beck said the job descriptions of the two positions are the same. The main difference is in council's ability to appoint someone rather than that person being elected.

Mayor Mike Adelman said some communities have discovered that they had elected clerk/treasurers in place who didn't have a background in finances or knowledge of what the position entailed.

So upon advice from the village's solicitor, Jim Barney, the administration decided to ask council to create the fiscal officer position. Adelman referred to the move as a "safety net."

Adelman said he's spoken to some village residents and they had voiced no objections. The mayor added council expressed no objections to the ordinance during its previous two readings.

In other business, council voted to increase by 3/4 of a percent the village's pick-up portion of the police chief's pension.

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