Au­di­tor an­nounces res­ig­na­tion

An­nounce­ment made in wake of em­bez­zle­ment scan­dal

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By Jonathan Tressler jtressler@news-her­ @JTfromtheNH on Twit­ter

Nearly five months af­ter em­bat­tled for­mer Geauga County Chief Tech­nol­ogy Of­fi­cer Steve De­catur was charged with hav­ing an un­law­ful in­ter­est in a pub­lic con­tract, county Au­di­tor Frank Gliha has an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion.

In a let­ter to Geauga County com­mis­sion­ers dated March 12, Gliha writes of his plan to re­sign and con­firms his de­ci­sion not to seek re-elec­tion in the May 8 pri­mary elec­tion for the post he’s held for the last nine years.

“It is with great dif­fi­culty that I an­nounce I am with­draw­ing from the up­com­ing pri­mary elec­tion for County Au­di­tor and, pend­ing ap­point­ment of my suc­ces­sor, I am sub­mit­ting my res­ig­na­tion as Au­di­tor of Geauga County,” Gliha’s let­ter to the com­mis­sion­ers reads. “I have ad­vised the (Board of Elec­tions) that I am with­draw­ing as a can­di­date, and asked that they make sure my name not ap­pear on the bal­lot.”

Gliha’s let­ter also ex­presses re­gret over the De­catur case, in which the for­mer Geauga County IT di­rec­tor is ac­cused of bilk­ing the county of some $1.8 mil­lion and laun­der­ing it through a Fair­lawn-based com­pany — SMCS Tech — which is owned and op­er­ated by his daugh­ter, 35-year-old Akron res­i­dent Stephanie Ste­wart. She is also charged in the 334-count in­dict­ment an­nounced in Jan­uary.

De­catur and Gliha au­tho­rized a pay­ment of $259,700 to

SMCS Tech with­out a ser­vice agree­ment be­tween Novem­ber 2016 and Septem­ber 2017 and then De­catur al­legedly de­posited the money into his per­sonal ac­count, Geauga County Pros­e­cu­tor James Flaiz con­firmed.

Both De­catur, 59, of Chester Town­ship, and Ste­wart were ar­raigned Feb. 5 in Geauga County Com­mon Pleas Court in the

334-count case.

“The al­le­ga­tions against long­time county em­ployee Steve De­catur shocked me,” Gliha states. “I, like many other county de­part­ment heads, trusted him im­plic­itly for many years. Com­ing to grips with his ap­par­ent de­ceit has been very dif­fi­cult for me, I have de­cided that I can­not con­tinue as the Geauga County Au­di­tor.”

In open­ing his let­ter to the com­mis­sion­ers, Gliha states it’s been his “great honor” to serve as au­di­tor over the past nine years and that he’s done his best “to live up to the ex­pec­ta­tions the vot­ers had when they elected me, and my own ex­pec­ta­tions.”

He closes it as fol­lows: “I am grate­ful to have had the op­por­tu­nity to serve my county and my town­ship and want to thank the won­der­ful staff that I have worked with at the Au­di­tor’s of­fice over the years. I am proud of my pub­lic ser­vice and sad that it has come to an end.”

In a third March 12 let­ter, Gliha sends con­fir­ma­tion to Flaiz that his last day in of­fice will be April 3.


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