Bellefontaine Examiner

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Belle Center fiscal officer back at work

Belle Center Fiscal Officer Cindy Longbrake was back at work Wednesday after walking off the job Monday amid an ongoing argument with Mayor Rhonda Fulmer.

Ms. Longbrake said she walked out after receiving a letter from the mayor indicating she handled money improperly and a face-to-face argument last week of a similar nature.

The village council met Tuesday evening but did not directly address the fiscal officer situation. They met only to transfer funds from the general fund to the sewer fund to cover a bill that was due Tuesday. That bill has now been paid, Ms. Longbrake said.

She said she returned because of comments from residents.

“I didn’t do this for her (Mayor Fulmer), I did it for the town,” Ms. Longbrake said. “I care for the village and I care for the people of the village. Many people asked me to come back and stand my ground.”

During a conversation with an attorney for the State Auditor’s Office, Ms. Longbrake said she learned that the mayor cannot fire a fiscal officer.

State law specifies that the mayor can recommend to council that a fiscal officer be fired but a majority of council must vote to remove her. A three-fourths majority of council, however, can remove a fiscal officer without the approval of the mayor, according to the Ohio Revised Code.

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