Highland County Commissioners issue statement on Smalley


Commissioners: County ‘will not tolerate’ misuse of public funds

By David Wright - dwright@aimmediamidwest.com



From left, Highland County commissioners Jeff Duncan, Shane Wilkin and Terry Britton sit in session during a commissioners meeting Wednesday.


David Wright | The Times-Gazette

The Highland County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday issued a formal statement regarding Rhonda Smalley, the former commissioners clerk who was indicted Tuesday by a Highland County Grand Jury for alleged financial crimes.

The statement, dated Feb. 7 and signed by commissioners Shane Wilkin, Terry Britton and Jeff Duncan, addressed allegations that Smalley misused public funds last year prior to her resignation in December.

The statement read as follows:

“Following a routine review of bills paid through the Commissioners’ office, a questionable credit card charge was discovered. After a more in-depth review of recent charges, other charges were discovered. At that point Mrs. Smalley was notified of the issue and chose to resign her position with Highland County. The county prosecutor was notified and all documentation of the questionable charges were compiled, copied and turned over to the Hillsboro Police Department for investigation.

“The Highland County Policy Manual specifically forbids the use of county credit cards for personal use. Even though this was discovered through a routine review of bills received, policy and approval procedures are being reviewed for improvement to limit the exposure.

“Highland County will not tolerate the misuse of public funds and will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. We are confident that this matter will be appropriately handled through the justice system within Highland County.

“This will conclude our comments as the case works its way through our court system.”

As previously reported, Smalley was indicted Tuesday on one count of misuse of a credit card, a fifth-degree felony, and one count of theft in office, a fourth-degree felony.

According to the indictment, the activity allegedly took place between July 28 and Nov. 12, 2017, in an amount between $1,000 and $7,500.

The maximum penalty for Smalley’s charges is 18 months in prison, according to Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins, although according to House Bill 86, if it is found she has no prior criminal record, she will likely be put on probation if found guilty.

Smalley could not be reached for comment.

In other business Wednesday, Duncan said the county was awarded a grant from the State of Ohio for the purchase of MARCS radios for all county emergency response agencies.

Duncan said the new radios will “go a long way” toward improving the county’s emergency services.

The radios will be ordered in coming weeks.

Britton said the Highland County Dog Pound will now be open six days a week instead of seven. The pound will be open Monday-Saturday from 8-4 p.m.

Wilkin said he has been in contact with an individual who expressed interest in seeking an open seat on the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission. The board has been seeking a replacement for Michael Rector, who recently resigned from the commission.

Wilkin also said he was again appointed head of the Highland County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC), and said the group has been working on a “good community project,” with more information to be released soon.

The commissioners also approved a routine financial resolution.

Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.

From left, Highland County commissioners Jeff Duncan, Shane Wilkin and Terry Britton sit in session during a commissioners meeting Wednesday.
http://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2018/02/web1_fcommish020718.jpgFrom left, Highland County commissioners Jeff Duncan, Shane Wilkin and Terry Britton sit in session during a commissioners meeting Wednesday. David Wright | The Times-Gazette
Commissioners: County ‘will not tolerate’ misuse of public funds

By David Wright

dwright@aimmediamidwest.com

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