Mecca’s Drawl told to resign or be put out

MECCA — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office told township fiscal officer Deborah Drawl to resign or it will file legal action in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court to force her out.

The request came in a letter sent to Drawl Monday.

“The complaint will be based on your continued failure to properly keep financial accounts and make reports for Mecca Township,” states a letter sent to Drawl by Damian Sikora, section chief of the constitutional office section of DeWine’s office.

Drawl could not be reached for comment Monday.

The action is being taken at the recommendation of Ohio Auditor Dave Yost’s office because Drawl failed to submit corrected financial records to Perry & Associates, a firm hired to do the township’s annual audit.

Perry & Associates in February found the township’s 2016 financial records as unauditable due to several unexplained financial entries, a failure to reconcile the books for several months, a large lapse in recording revenues and a failure to file a complete annual financial report for 2016. She was given 90 days to correct the problem.

Representatives of the state auditor’s office met with both Drawl and the auditing firm in September. Throughout late September and early October, township records were reviewed by both representatives of Perry & Associates and the Auditor’s Office and still found to be unauditable.

“It is our conclusion that you have failed to bring into compliance the records you are statutorily required to complete,” Sikora wrote. “Before proceeding, we are giving you this opportunity to voluntarily resign from your position as Mecca Township fiscal officer, and we encourage you to do so.”

The township trustees and about 20 residents earlier this year signed affidavits to have Drawl removed from office, claiming she was not doing her job.

In July, Drawl asked trustees to have Local Government Services, a division of the Ohio Auditor’s Office, help her balance the books and review bank statements and financial records. However, trustees decided against spending $8,500 to bring in the state to help straighten out the township’s 2016 financial records.

Trustee Dan Galbincea said it is about time a recommendation has been given for Drawl to resign.

“We did not think the attorney general’s office would do anything now that he is running for governor,” Galbincea said. “Now that he has stepped up to the plate, hopefully he can help save our township.”

Galbincea said the trustees have been doing everything they could during the past 17 to 18 months to expose the financial issues.

“We have not been able to gain access to our books,” he said. “She would only show us what she wanted to show us. This is nothing.”

Galbincea said the trustees have not been able to put the township’s budget in place because they don’t trust the financial records.

“I hope she will resign, so the township can get back into order,” Trustee James Governor said. “The township ran so smoothly before she took office.”

Governor said he hopes the issues surrounding Drawl does not hurt the township’s effort to pass a renewal levy for its fire department.

“Our firemen and firewomen are putting in thousand of hours and have raised money on their own,” he said.