Mecca fiscal officer stays on job

Attorney general’s office rules ‘insufficient evidence’ for removal

MECCA — Township Fiscal Officer Deborah Drawl will remain in her post after the Ohio Attorney General’s Office found “insufficient evidence” to remove her.

Last month, trustees James Governor, Fritz Birkhimer and Dan Galbincea sought to have Drawl removed following a state auditor’s probe that concluded she has not performed the duties of her position. The auditor’s office found she ”purposely, knowingly or recklessly fails to perform a fiscal duty expressly imposed by law with respect to the fiscal duties of the office of township fiscal office.”

However, Attorney General Mike DeWine found there was insufficient evidence to remove her and any attempts to do so would be unsuccessful.

In August, the state auditor’s office received a Fiscal Integrity Act complaint against Drawl alleging she failed to remit, in a timely manner, state income tax filings and withholdings as required by Ohio Revised Code.

The auditor’s office  found that Drawl failed to remit state income tax withholdings as required by Ohio law. She submitted the first-quarter taxes withheld from township employees about six weeks late, and as of Sept. 9, she still had not submitted the tax withholdings that were due Aug. 1, according to Auditor David Yost’s letter.

Drawl, who declined further comment on the matter,said in an email to the Tribune Chronicle that she explained to the attorney general’s office that she had been ill and apologized for the error in failing to remit the Aug. 1, 2016 payment. She said she needed ”additional training to better perform her job.”

Drawl also provided a receipt for payment of the second quarter’s state income tax withholdings and provided documentation that she has registered for Uniform Accounting Network and payroll classes.

A Sept. 30 letter from DeWine states it has reviewed all documents and Auditor Cara Yoder’s and Investigator Kevin Monolly’s report, and Quality Assurance Technical Specialist Ashley Perry’s memorandum and conducted a review of the documents and material provided.

”It is the opinion of the Attorney General’s Office that there is insufficient evidence to initiate a removal procedure against Mrs. Drawl. We were unable to find that there is clear and convincing evidence that Mrs. Drawl purposely, knowingly, or recklessly failed to perform her duty as a township officer,” the letter states.

Township legal counsel Mark Finamore said the situation resulted in two investigations taking place in the matter, one by the auditor’s office and the other by the attorney general’s office.

Finamore said the attorney general’s office has agreed to give Drawl an opportunity to perform the duties since she has agreed to attend classes and provided documentation of submitting payments for state income tax withholdings.

”It is often difficult to remove someone from office when the voters have elected that person. The attorney general’s office has given her the benefit of the doubt since she has agreed to accounting and payroll,” he said.

Drawl has been in office only since March. She defeated former fiscal officer Jennifer Mancini last November. Mancini had replaced former longtime fiscal officer Diane Drawl Jurkovic, who served four terms beginning in 1999.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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