Fixing problems and moving forward

Mt. Sterling officials react to audit and plan for future

By Michael Williamson -

Following the release of the two-year special audit from the State Auditor’s office, Mount Sterling officials say they are looking toward moving past the incidents of the last five years.

“We are well aware of being in a fiscal emergency and will be probably for the next two years,” said mayor Billy Martin. “That’s why we’re putting so much work into cutting costs.”

The released audit details how former administrator Joe Johnson and former mayor Charlie Neff made it so that financial matters regarding the village were decided by them. This piece of legislation was then corrected after Johnson’s resignation in March 2016.

The village’s fiscal officer Courtney Bricker wanted to remind the community that the report is about Johnson.

“This audit means Joe Johnson’s case is over,” she said. “This is obviously Johnson’s story.”

She said council’s job is to move toward making the village strong.

“We’re here to make residents trust us again,” Bricker added.

Most of the measures being taken to correct the village’s organization are being handled at the council and committee meetings.

At Monday’s meeting, council went into executive session to discuss the “continued employment of the street supervisor,” according to village law director Mark Pitstick. Brett Towler, the village’s street supervisor, was hospitalized in October 2017 with an injury and will be recovering for an indefinite amount of time.

In a previous special meeting, council met to amend the 2018 budget which consisted of taking Towler’s salary and moving it to the general fund with approval by the State Auditor.

Mayor Martin also said that meetings will function to help council work to get the operations back in order from the changes made by previous administrations.

Also at Monday’s meeting, they put an ordinance on a second reading that would amend the rules of council dealing with those financial decisions.

“This is simply an ordinance that puts the power back where it belongs: your village council members,” Martin said. “As you all well know, it hadn’t been like that in the past and we suffered for it. But they’re doing their job now.”

Mt. Sterling officials react to audit and plan for future

By Michael Williamson

Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.

Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.