Highland County Commissioners hire new clerk; HPD confirms probe of ‘financial misappropriation’


The Highland County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday voted to approve the hiring of Mary Remsing as the new commission clerk after an apparent criminal investigation into “financial misappropriation” in the commissioners office which apparently began following the December resignation of former clerk Rhonda Smalley.

During Wednesday’s commissioners meeting, Barb Cole, a resident who often attends public meetings, asked the board about an investigation, with board President Shane Wilkin saying a matter was being investigated by the Hillsboro Police Department.

Contacted by The Times-Gazette, HPD Chief Darrin Goudy confirmed on Wednesday that his department is conducting an investigation.

“There was some financial misappropriation discovered through the commissioners’ office, so we were brought into it,” Goudy said. “It’s still in the process. We’re wrapping things up and we’re hoping to have the investigation concluded in the near future.”

Goudy said more information on the case will be released when the investigation is complete.

As reported by The Times-Gazette, Smalley tendered her resignation in a letter dated Sunday, Dec. 10 of last year. She could not be reached for comment.

Remsing is currently a registrar at the Highland County Health Department, where she has worked for the past three years. She was one of 10 people interviewed for the clerk’s position.

Contacted Wednesday, Remsing was enthusiastic about taking the job.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” Remsing said. “It’s another great way to serve our county.”

Remsing will begin her duties Feb. 12.

Also Wednesday, Wilkin said the county has received a cash payment of $207,000 from the state to cover a portion of expected revenue losses.

As reported by The Times-Gazette, the county’s sales tax revenue, which Wilkin has said makes up about 60 percent of the county’s income, has already declined following a change in federal law that blocks counties and transit authorities from collecting sales taxes from Medicaid-funded managed care organizations (MCOs).

Because of the law change, Highland County is projected to lose about $807,000 annually.

The state has offered local governments affected by the law change a “transitional aid” package in the form of cash infusions to cushion the loss.

Commissioner Terry Britton said there’s a possibility the state will fork over another payment, although Wilkin said that will only happen if the state identifies a “revenue surplus” in its budget.

In other business Wednesday, Wilkin said the board should consider signing a proclamation for Brad Cole, a long-time policy staffer at the County Commissioners Association of Ohio set to retire in February.

Wilkin said Cole is “an outstanding guy,” and “incredibly knowledgeable” on policy issues.

The commissioners also approved routine financial resolutions.

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

From left, Highland County Commissioners Jeff Duncan, Shane Wilkin and Terry Britton discuss business items during a Wednesday commissioners meeting.
http://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2018/01/web1_fcommish013118.jpgFrom left, Highland County Commissioners Jeff Duncan, Shane Wilkin and Terry Britton discuss business items during a Wednesday commissioners meeting. David Wright | The Times-Gazette

By David Wright

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