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Village officials work with financial records

SALINEVILLE – Nearly six months into the new year, village officials continue to work on administrative organization, and are getting help from the state auditor’s office to bring financial records and fund balances up to date.Since the end of 2011, several personnel changes have taken place, the mayor, police chief and fiscal officer among them.At Monday’s village council meeting Fiscal Officer Esther Anderson said Jim Armeni of the auditor’s office will help her with the financial records. She said she is working on the balances for all the accounts and reported balances at $59,010 with $29,776 paid out.Council members have voted to pay some bills, but have expressed concern about the muddled state of the village’s financial records. At one point, Councilman Tom Hays was going to refuse to approve paying bills, but other council members noted they had already signed the checks.Armeni, who was previously Salem’s city auditor, is now the state auditor’s regional liaison for this area. Armeni and field investigator Ken Hovanic sat in on the first village council meeting of the year. At the time, Armeni said auditor’s representatives routinely sit in on council meetings. He said, however, that “Salineville is a village of interest.”The council approved up to $500 for Anderson for office supplies. She said she would need about $1,500 for supplies to be able to organize files for her office, the mayor’s court and the police department, and perhaps even $1,500 will not be enough.Anderson told the council she is trying to set up files so that she can find information needed when state auditors ask for it. Auditors have completed the recent audit, but no report has been made public.Mayor Mary Smith said she and Anderson and police Chief Terry McElroy are working to organize, and in some cases, create files. Smith said Anderson has already created a file for 2013 audit purposes.Anderson said she needed the budget for office supplies because she is spending a lot of billable hours trying to organize records, and spending more time that she would normally if records were organized.Anderson has been working to get bank information and email passwords, and to get email accounts set up that she can access. She said she still has not closed out the village’s April financial records because of incomplete information.Councilman Rick Beadle said when the council has hired fiscal officers in the past, the persons hired promised they would save the village money, and that hasn’t happened.”It’s a record-keeping nightmare,” Smith said. She reminded the council that she, Anderson and McElroy are dealing with inherited problems.McElroy has previously said lack of organization is his biggest obstacle to establishing the department the way he wants it. McElroy,Smith and Anderson are also working toward re-establishing the village’s mayor’s court. Smith said she and McElroy are also working with the U.S. Department of Justice to be able to utilize some of the money from a Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant.The police department reorganized in March after the council was forced to make budget cuts due to the village’s budget woes. There are now three part-time officers, including the chief; and one unpaid auxiliary officer.McElroy said he hopes to bring the auxiliary officer, Kyle Hiscox, on board as a part-time officer once he completes his Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) training, and to hire some additional officers in the near future.

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