Current city treasurer Paula Durbin announced on Tuesday during a press conference at AA American Bail Bonds that she will be running for city council in the general election in November.
Durbin said her term as treasurer expires on Dec. 31 and she feels she can be a better watchdog over city funds as a council member-at-large.
Durbin has been vocal in the past with her objections as to how city money is being spent and is now reiterating a few of those complaints, and has added some new concerns.
“I want to update the citizens on a previous topic: The monthly reconciliation of the city,” Durbin said.
Durbin said that the current auditor, Brian Treisch, only reconciled the city’s finances, with the help of the state auditor’s office, for about five months then handed off the duty to her.
“Today, that function is now back in the city auditor’s office where it should be. The city auditor makes all of the financial transactions during the month and he needs to check, balance and reconcile his own work. However, the citizens need to know that the city auditor is not doing the reconciliation himself,” Durbin said.
Durbin said the duty has now been handed over to a clerk in the auditor’s office with assistance from the state auditor’s office.
Durbin said that recently Treisch informed the citizens that the city is investing $16 million and that the interest earned would be $320,000.
“This is absolutely incorrect. The current interest rate is 0.002 percent so the annual interest at that rate would be just $32,000,” Durbin said.
Durbin also said she feels like public funds are being used as personal funds by the city’s administration.
“When the mayor ran for office, he said he did not need a safety-service director and that would save the city a lot of money. Then after he was elected, he said that he needed a safety-service director, but only part-time,” Durbin said.
Mayor Tom O’Leary then hired John Swain as a full-time safety-service director.
“But he doesn’t stop spending there as he then hires a service department manager, Al Baker, to actually run the service departments instead of the safety-service director doing so,” Durbin said.
Durbin said the city manager position that the city once had came at a cost of $113,670.96 including salary, retirement, Medicare, health insurance and life insurance.
“Mayor O’Leary has replaced one city manager with a total of three people, including himself, costing the tax payers roughly $193,000,” Durbin said.
Durbin also noted that the safety-service director’s salary was recently increased from $52,000 per year to $59,000 with nearly $21,000 per year for health insurance for the position.
“This is just outrageous spending. There are citizens in Galion who do not make $21,000 per year,” Durbin said.
Durbin said the focus of city finances should be on increasing the quality of life in Galion and bringing in new business.
“I feel that I can better serve the needs and concerns of the citizens of Galion by serving in a legislative position and impacting the way city government operates,” Durbin said.
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