Auditor announces resignation
Announcement made in wake of embezzlement scandal
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
“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.