Nick McWilliams reporting – As the search rolls on for a new city auditor, Uhrichsville leaders are on different pages when it comes to the financial standing of the municipality.
Former Auditor Becky Carpenter resigned amid frustration in her role, but has since stayed on board to assist with filing payroll and other small tasks.
Since then, Mayor Mark Haney and Uhrichsville administration have been searching for the next auditor, with few applicants and tepid interest in the position, per the mayor.
Some council members, such as James Zucal, expressed their desires to table any ordinances that would deal with spending additional funds, until the new financial head is found, and motioned to not move forward at this time with an increase in pay rates for some Uhrichsville firefighters.
“I don’t know how we can make a decision on anything that involves financial matters without an auditor. And I think this council is tasked by the citizens that they work for to do things that are fiscally responsible. So until we know the numbers, the costs, it’s not orident for us to move forward. I’m going to make a motion to table these.”
Councilwoman Amy Myers, who chairs the Finance Committee, read an extensive report from their latest meeting, detailing a tense back-and-forth with the mayor and some committee members related to the lack of an auditor.
Haney also voiced frustration, after he said he distributed a document from Tuscarawas County Auditor Larry Lindberg of the first budget certificate of appropriations into next year by placing copies in council members’ mailboxes a week or more ago.
Many on council said that they had not received the document. The certificate reflected higher income tax collection, with around $2.5 million of carryover from last year.
He doubled down on his previous opinion and said that changes need to be made to the compensation rates or the description of the auditor position, or the city might be forced into hiring a traveling auditor, which could cost thousands more than a new, permanent hire.
“This could be a costly endeavor. Up to $150 to maybe $200 an hour to bring someone in to do that work. They set their own rates, and they’re basically contractors of the state, but they’re allowed to set their own rate. One of them, who is very close to the area and works, she might be able to give us two, maybe three hours a day. With the UAN system, she might be able to do some of that work from home.”
When proposing a change to a full-time assistant auditor position, Haney received pushback from Myers, who stated she thought Carpenter asked for more money, and making the assistant full-time with benefits and not the head auditor position did not make sense.
Haney said that the former auditor asked for assistance to lower her hours, and not for more pay.
The city administration is hopeful to have more candidates available soon, and is looking to avoid the costly traveling auditor expenses.
Copyright WTUZ Radio Inc., 2023