Saturday, June 26, 2010
COMMISSIONERS GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION WITH THEIR LEGAL TEAM: QUESTIONS CONSIDERED - CAN THEY REMOVE TREASURER ZEIGLER IF HE DOES NOT RESIGN & CAN THEY RECOVER MISSING FUNDS FROM TREASURER ZEIGLER TO THE DEGREE THAT LOSSES ARE UNCOVERED BY OTHER RESOURCES?
The Report had these questions for the commissioners:
First, what, if anything, will the commissioners be doing to remove Stark County Treasurer Gary Zeigler from office if he continues his refusal to resign from office as has been requested by all three commissioners in statements made yesterday.
Second, what, if anything, will the commissioners be doing to recover lost county funds - vis-a-vis Treasurer Zeigler - on account of the Frustaci theft if bonds and insurance do not cover all of the $2 million plus loss.
The quick and dirty answer.
"We do not know."
Bosley and Ferguson told The Report that they were completely left in the dark (confirming: Ferrero video on earlier blog) and that they still do not know which accounts Frustaci stole from. According to Bosley and Ferguson, none of the specific information they need to determine what they can legally do has been provided to them by the Ohio Auditor headed up by Mary Tayor, nor by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Whether or not they are empowered to move against Zeigler, they say, depends on the accounts involved.
Moreover, they say they are going to retain the services of a independent unit of Summit County government to come to Stark for the purpose of analyzing the loss of county funds at the Stark treasury. Once that has been done, they will be formulating a plan of action.
Although United States Attorney Steven Dittelbach seems to think the Frustaci matter is ended (see video below), it obviously is not for the Stark commissioners.
The Report believes that "the elephant in the room" is that commissioners have great concern that a county 1/4th of one percent which will likely be on the November, 2010 ballot is in great jeopardy. They have to be thinking such if bonds and insurances do not cover the loss, Stark County taxpayers will not be in the mood to do so.
Commissioner Bosley was quoted in area media yesterday as citing the Stark's "stabilization fund" (popularly known as a "rainy day fund" which stands at about 5.5 million dollars) might be a source for any theft-generated shortfall, if one occurs.
The Report believes any move on the stabilization fund will meet strong resistance from County Administrator Mike Hanke. He has treated the fund as a key for Stark's financial survival going into fiscal year 2011 and beyond.
So the next battle for commissioners and maybe even among them will be whether or not to tap into the stabilization fund if there is a shortfall.