Mecca trustees appoint new fiscal officer

MECCA — Former Mecca Fiscal Officer Jennifer Mancini has been appointed by township trustees to replace Debbie Drawl, who was removed from office Thursday by Trumbull County Common Please Judge Andrew Logan.

About 20 residents gathered at a special meeting Friday where trustees voted 3-0 to name Mancini as fiscal officer. Drawl served as fiscal officer from April 2016 to January 2018 and was removed after Logan determined she did not fulfill the duties of the position.

Mancini, who holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and works as an accountant at Millwood Inc. in Vienna, said she was appreciative the trustees thought of her for the position.

“I will work hard to make sure everything is taken care of,” she said.

Mancini originally was appointed fiscal officer in September 2014 to replace Diane Drawl, who served 15 years in the position before moving from the township. Mancini served through March 2016 because she was defeated in the November 2015 general election by Debbie Drawl for the position.

“When Jennifer was the fiscal officer, she did a great job. The books were always done right,” said Trustee Vice Chairman James Governor.

Trustee Chairman Fritz Birkhimer said they will check with the Trumbull County Board of Elections to see if Mancini will serve the rest of this year and then have to run in the November general election to continue the rest of Debbie Drawl’s four-year term, which ends in March 2020. Mancini will be sworn in shortly.

Also at Friday’s meeting, trustees approved getting Mancini’s name on township bank accounts, safety deposit box and issued her a township credit card with a $2,000 limit.

Trustees also passed a motion to remove Debbie Drawl’s name from all township bank accounts and safety deposit box and canceled and cut up her township credit card. They also changed the combination of the locks at the township offices, officials said.

Trustees also passed a resolution entering into an agreement with Local Government Services, a division of the state auditor’s office, to reconstruct the township books of 2016, 2017 and January 2018.

Birkhimer said LGS will come in immediately to get the books balanced and in order so they can be audited. He said the township will pay $8,500 for the books for 2016 and expects the same amount for 2017.

Logan ruled Thursday to remove Debbie Drawl as fiscal officer “to preserve the financial integrity of Mecca Township” following a recommendation by the state attorney general.

Trustees and about 20 residents last year signed affidavits to have Drawl removed from office, claiming she was not doing her job.

A letter from Mark Altier, chief legal counsel for Ohio Auditor David Yost’s office, sent last year to Birkhimer and to Drawl stated the independent public accounting firm of Perry and Associates found Mecca to be unauditable in May 2017 and gave the township 90 days to get its financial records in order so an audit could be done. Following the 90 days, the financial records were still not in order, so the attorney general’s office stepped in.

Debbie Drawl’s attorney, Michael Rossi, said an appeal to her removal was filed Thursday with the 11th District Court of Appeals.