Additional News Coverage

Here are some additional news stories about the recent decision by Ohio State Auditor David Yost to place our Township under Fiscal Emergency. While this is seemingly not good news for the township, I can assure that there is nowhere to go but up and I will continue to do all I can to right our financial ship. Thanks again for all your support & confidence last November.

Click on the links below to read story:

Official Press Release from the State Auditor’s office

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State Auditor places Hamilton Township in Fiscal Emergency

From the 4/9 Cincinnati Enquirer:

State Auditor places Hamilton Township in Fiscal Emergency

By Rachel Richardson, rrichardson@enquirer.com

HAMILTON TWP. After more than a decade of snarled finances and multimillion dollar deficits, the state will now take over Hamilton Township’s checkbook after the state auditor declared it to be in fiscal emergency.

Auditor Dave Yost made the announcement at a Wednesday afternoon press conference, three months after he directed his office to complete the township’s audits for 2010-13 and analyze them to determine the township’s possible financial distress.

“We try to work with particularly smaller governments to try and help them get back on an even keel,” he said. “That obviously wasn’t the case here. It got to a point where I felt we needed to act.”

A government can be placed in a fiscal emergency if one of six conditions are met. Yost said the Warren County community of about 24,000 met two of those six conditions, including current deficits of $2.5 million in its road and bridge and new administration building funds and a more than $1 million treasury deficit.

The township is one of 23 Ohio governments in a fiscal emergency. Yost said the length a municipality remains in fiscal emergency could range from two to 15 years, depending on the severity of its finances.

The auditor said he was confident Hamilton Township could lift itself from fiscal emergency status in a couple years.

“Fundamentally, the township is sound. The tax base here is sufficient to support government operations. They are well poised to be able to recover quickly,” said Yost.

Township officials now have 120 days to develop a plan to eliminate the deficits. That plan must be approved by a state commission, which will monitor and review township spending.

When the corrected actions have been completed, state officials will conduct a five-year analysis of the township’s finances. If the outlook is satisfactory, the township will be released from the fiscal emergency.

Officials have placed much of the blame for its financial woes on the township’s former fiscal officer, Jackie Terwilleger, who held the elected position for 34 years until her retirement last month.

Terwilleger, 73, announced her departure abruptly amid allegations she’d mismanaged township finances, falsified checks written on the township’s account and authorized payments without trustees’ approval, among other claims.

Township trustees unanimously voted in February to refer Terwilleger, 73, to the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office for criminal investigation on allegations she allegedly backdated a series of checks totaling $134,000 and issued them without trustees’ approval, as required by law.

Officials have also asked the township’s law director, Warren Ritchie, to investigate whether other accusations of unauthorized spending by Terwilleger violate the Ohio Revised Code.

Those investigations remain ongoing, officials have said.

Yost stopped short of placing the blame solely on Terwilleger, but said the township’s finances contained numerous cases of inaccurate bookkeeping.

“Clearly, the fiscal officer was in over her head,” he said.

Township trustees last week unanimously voted to appoint Ray Warrick — a regular and vocal critic of how officials have handled the financial crisis — as fiscal officer to fill the remainder of Terwilleger’s term through March 31, 2016.

Warrick said township officials have already begun working on a five-year plan and that officials hope to do so without raising taxes or reducing police and fire services.

Trustee President Kurt Weber said residents could expect to see some cuts made to the township’s parks budget.

“This isn’t the best day for the township, but this is probably the most willing group of people to be placed on fiscal emergency in the state of Ohio,” said Warrick. “We’re very confident that we can work our way out of it.”

Hamilton Township Trustees Appoint Ray Warrick Fiscal Officer

Township Trustee Dave Wallace (right) welcomes Ray Warrick to the Hamilton Township Administration

Township Trustee Dave Wallace (right) welcomes Ray Warrick to the Hamilton Township Administration

 

Ray Warrick was appointed as the new Hamilton Township Fiscal officer following the abrupt retirement of Jackie Terwilleger last month under a cloud fiscal irregularities.

Please join me in welcoming Ray Warrick to the Hamilton Township Administration.  I look forward to working with him to rightsize Hamilton Township’s fiscal situation and restoring our finances to full accountability.

 

 

 

Local news coverage was quite extensive.  Please see below for links to all the stories:

Hamilton Township trustees appoint new fiscal officerWLWT TV, Ch 5, 4/3/14

Hamilton Twp.’s biggest critic becomes fiscal officer – Cincinnati Enquirer, 4/3/14

Residents defend Hamilton Twp. former trustee Jackie Terwilliger as her replacement steps upWCPO TV, Ch 9, 4/3/14

 

 

Hamilton Township’s Fiscal Officer Resigns

From today’s Cincinnati Enquirer:

“Hamilton Township’s longtime fiscal officer, Jackie Terwilleger, announced her abrupt retirement Friday amidst accusations she’s mismanaged township finances, falsified checks written on the township’s account and authorized payments without trustees’ approval, among other claims.”

Cincinnati Enquirer 3/14/14

Hamilton Twp. fiscal officer retires amidst probe

HAMILTON TWP. One of Warren County’s longest-tenured local officials has stepped down .

Hamilton Township Fiscal Officer Jackie Terwilleger announced her retirement effective immediately, officials confirmed Friday.

Jackie Terwilleger

Jackie Terwilleger (Photo: Enquirer)

The announcement comes as Terwilleger, who’s held her publicly elected position continuously since she was appointed in 1980, faces accusations she’s mismanaged township finances, falsified checks written on the township’s account and authorized payments without trustees’ approval, among other claims.

Township trustees unanimously voted last month to refer Terwilleger, 73, to the Warren County Prosecutor’s office for criminal investigation on allegations she allegedly backdated a series of checks totaling $134,000 and issued them without trustees’ approval, as required by law.

Officials have also asked the township’s law director, Warren Ritchie, to investigate whether other accusations of unauthorized spending by Terwilleger violate the Ohio Revised Code.

On Wednesday, an accountant hired by the township to manage its books told officials he discovered more than 1,800 accounting errors made between 2010-2013 that overstated township funds by $2.5 million.

Those errors, officials have said, were made by Terwilleger, who oversaw and managed the township’s books.

“It originates with Jackie,” Trustee David Wallace told the Enquirer. “Jackie was just moving money around without the trustees’ permission or knowledge.”

Audits conducted of the township’s finances by state-certified auditors for fiscal years 2002-2009 reveal numerous violations of state law, many of which are repeat violations.

In January, State Auditor Dave Yost announced he’d directed his office to complete the township’s audits for 2010-2013 and that officials would be analyzing those finances to determine if the township should be placed in a financial distress status.

Officials last month revealed the township, which has an annual budget of $15 to $20 million, is forecast to have a negative balance this year of about $2.3 million in its building funds to cover the cost of a new township administration building that opened in 2001.

The township’s roads and bridges fund is set to have a negative balance of $323,267 by the year’s end. Officials have blamed Terwilleger’s accounting records for both deficits.

Trustees have called a emergency meeting at noon today to determine the process for selecting an interim replacement.

The Enquirer will update this story