Press Release Ohio Auditor of State

Auditor of State Keith Faber Releases Village of Mount Sterling in Madison County from Fiscal Emergency

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Public Affairs
Contact: Marc Kovac

Columbus – Auditor of State Keith Faber has released the Village of Mount Sterling in Madison County from fiscal emergency, a status it has had since mid-2017.

The termination, announced Tuesday, came after the community of nearly 2,000 people adopted and successfully implemented a financial recovery plan and met other requirements to address deficit fund balances.

 “Mount Sterling worked hard to overcome the financial turmoil caused by several corrupt former employees in years past,” Auditor Faber said. “I applaud Village officials, who had to make difficult decisions and sacrifices to get their community back on the path to financial stability.”

Mount Sterling was placed into a state of fiscal emergency on June 22, 2017, after state auditors confirmed a deficit totaling $269,437 in two funds.

The declaration came after several Mount Sterling officials were convicted of theft in office and related crimes against the Village. 

Former Administrator Joseph Johnson was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to make restitution of $724,239. Former Utilities Clerk and Assistant Administrator Bonnie Liff, former Mayor Charles Neff, and former Fiscal Officer Vickie Sheets also received varying sentences, some of which included jail time and additional restitution.

The state of fiscal emergency required Mount Sterling to come under the oversight of a financial planning and supervision commission. Among other actions, the Village subsequently:

  • Collected $249,537 in restitution from former Village employees.
  • Enrolled in the non-filing program offered by the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA), resulting in an average increase in income tax collections of $23,900 annually.
  • Reviewed all expenditures and reduced or eliminated nonessential spending, including cutting employee medical insurance premium costs by 50% by changing providers and saving $4,100 annually by eliminating a road maintenance supervisor position.

With Mount Sterling’s release Tuesday, there are now 11 public entities still under fiscal emergency (https://ohioauditor.gov/fiscal/local.html). The Auditor of State’s Local Government Services office (https://ohioauditor.gov/local.html) stands ready to work with financially struggling public offices to get their books in order and address problem areas.


The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 6,000 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.