Treasurer’s resignation left Niles in the lurch

Books weren’t reconciled in January

NILES — The resignation of City Treasurer Janet Jones had an impact on the city’s financial recovery process.

Quentin Potter, who chairs the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission, said during a Feb. 15 meeting that the city must train someone to reconcile city books, as well as a backup person. Jones resigned less than two months into a four-year-term and the books were not reconciled at all in January.

Since 2015, project managers from the state auditor’s office have been reconciling the books, but the treasurer’s office was supposed to start doing it this year. However, numbers for January weren’t available because reconciliation was never performed.

Failure to reconcile the books raises questions and takes the city back to where the commission was when the process started, Potter said. Books need to be closed on a regular basis each month because being accountable with money the citizens entrust the local government with is a must, Potter said.

“This is one of these fundamental items the commission expects to be able to see where the city is,” Potter said. “Setting the meeting in February really was to see how the city started this year, whether you’re keeping on track with everything and we’re not able to see that now. Of course that is a serious concern.”

The city had one other person, Lynn Roberto, who was trained on reconcilation but she was transferred to the light department. Roberto was replaced with Holly Money, but she has to be trained along with whoever is appointed to replace Jones.

Commission member John Davis said with the elimination of the city income tax department and switch to the Regional Income Tax Agency, the city lost people who could have helped out with the reconciliation process.

However, Timothy Lintner and Nita Hendryx, project managers with the state auditor’s office, said Jones was given opportunities to learn the reconciliation process, but she refused to take part in the training even though the training days were tailored to her schedule.

“We specifically scheduled all of the training days on the day that she worked,” Lintner said.

Mayor Thomas Scarnecchia said the city will have its final interviews today with candidates to replace Jones. Scarnecchia will appoint the treasurer, who will then have to be approved by the commission.

“We have some very good applicants and probably by Monday we will name the new treasurer,” Scarnecchia said.