The Press Newspaper
Genoa Village Council decided Tuesday to ask Ottawa County law enforcement to look into a possible misappropriation of public funds.
Councilmembers voted 5-1 during a special meeting to send the request to Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton and Prosecutor Mark Mulligan, Village Administrator Garth Reynolds confirmed Wednesday.
Councilman John Lewis cast the single “no” vote.
The issue surrounds a clerk-type position at the village hall.
Reynolds, who oversees that position, referred further comment regarding the meeting to council president Dave Adams.
The person currently filling the position was employed through a county placement program in partnership with the Ohio Job and Family Services office, Adams said.
“They paid part of it (the salary) and we paid the other part,” he explained.
Records show the placement was approved for Aug. 25, 2008 until March 1, 2009, Adams said.
The person, however, still remains in the village’s employ despite no documentation for being retained by the village.
Councilman Eric Hise, who asked for the special meeting, said placing a person on the village staff requires several ordinances, including those for the actual hiring and setting a salary.
“There isn’t even a job description for this position,” he said prior to the meeting.
That lack of documentation is the chief issue, village leaders say.
“Basically, we are just going to have them review this,” Adams said. “We don’t know. There’s no paperwork. It has been questioned and so we have to look into it.”
Sheriff Bratton said Genoa officials were expected to drop off paperwork to his office Wednesday regarding the case.
“I don’t have a problem looking at it, but I don’t know if it’s under our jurisdiction,” the sheriff said. “We’ll see what it is and, well, decipher whether we’re the ones who should be looking into it.”
Normally, a village would seek advice from its legal counsel, the sheriff said.
Genoa, however, doesn’t have a village solicitor. Attorney Cindy Smith, citing personal reasons, resigned earlier this year after two decades of working for the village.
Selection of a solicitor falls to Mayor Mark Williams, Adams said.
The mayor was unable to attend Tuesday’s special meeting.
“The reason we had to go this far is the mayor has been dragging his feet on hiring a counselor. We don’t have any one for legal advice when any of these issues come up,” Adams said, referring to council seeking assistance from county officials.