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Fiscal Integrity Act Heads to the Governor’s Desk
Columbus – Ohio’s tax dollars will be better protected with the passage of the Fiscal Integrity Act (HB10), voted off the floor of the House today. Auditor of State Dave Yost has been an avid proponent of the bill, working with Representative Christina Hagan and Senator Tim Schaffer to raise the bar of integrity for fiscal officers across the state.
“This bill will make Ohio a better place – with better skills, better accountability, better integrity for our public finances,” Auditor Yost said. “I commend Representative Hagan and Senator Schaffer for their work to ensure the success of this bill.
The Fiscal Integrity Act increases accountability of our local government fiscal officers by:
- Creating a removal process of a fiscal officer if there is clear and convincing evidence of reckless conduct or a reckless failure to act;
- Requiring township fiscal officers to undergo training for their positions;
- Requiring county auditors and treasurers to perform their duties every 30 days;
- Creating fiscal accountability requirements for public schools declared “unauditable” by the Auditor of State;
- This could include the Ohio Department of Education stopping payments to the districts if it fails to make progress in bringing records to an auditable condition;
- Requiring new community schools to guarantee a $50,000 bond with the Auditor of State upon opening; and
- Prohibiting any fiscal officer who is convicted or pleads guilty to dereliction of duty from holding public office in Ohio for four years, or until repayment or restitution by the court is satisfied.
Auditor Yost began working with Representative Hagan and Senator Schaffer to develop legislation that would increase the accountability of fiscal officers in local governments after seeing what took place in the Stark County Treasurer’s office. A subordinate of the treasurer stole nearly $3 million over the course of several years. The former Stark County Treasurer did not provide adequate oversight of his office -- which could have prevented the theft.
After the Stark County Commissioners removed the former treasurer, the Ohio Supreme Court concluded the current removal statute was unconstitutional. The court found the statute to be unconstitutional because it did not comply with due process.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,800 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.