Liberty Township trustees have essentially changed the status of the assistant fiscal officer’s position from part time to full time.
That change required the trustees to amend the fiscal officer’s 2017 budget, increasing it to $73,000 to pay for compensation for the assistant. Fiscal Officer Nancy Denutte said the increase in her budget will pay for all the past holiday pay, sick leave, vacation time, and health benefits for the assistant fiscal officer, Rob Hildreth.
Denutte said she asked that her assistant be made “full time almost immediately” when she took office as the fiscal officer in April 2016.
Trustee Shyra Eichhorn said the trustees were left with the choice of either increasing the budget or not having the services of the assistant fiscal officer for the “remainder of the year.”
“For someone working those kind of hours you have to at that point include all the benefits for (the township) to be compliant,” Eichhorn said.
Eichhorn and fellow trustee Melanie Leneghan both voted in favor of the increase.
Trustee Tom Mitchell said he appreciates Eichhorn’s comments, but holds Denutte accountable for coming up short in her budget to the point of asking for an increase.
Mitchell voted against the increase.
“(Denutte) asked the trustees at the beginning of the year for approval of her budget,” he said. “She used all the money the board approved. The money is gone; she mismanaged her office. I’m tired of (Denutte) acting and then asking the trustees to retro fix it.”
Stated in the preamble of the resolution approving the increase, “… the (fiscal office) submitted to the board an estimate of expenditures for the fiscal officer’s office for 2017 and, based on such submission, the board approved a 2017 budget … which included an appropriation to the fiscal office for the … compensation of the assistant.”
Denutte said since taking office she has discovered many things that have saved the township money now and in the future. She said her assistant is considered part time but she needs him “working closer to 40 hours every week.”
“I need him to work the hours,” she said. “I’ve been fighting this a long time. I finally said I’m not going to do this illegally anymore. I’m putting him on the health plan.”
According to Denutte, she and the trustees met with the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office about the assistant fiscal officer’s employment classification.
Denutte said she didn’t push for the meeting and she didn’t know exactly how it happened.
“I just know all of a sudden there was a meeting with the prosecutor,” she said. “Guess what he said? I was right.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.