WOODMERE — Village officials are working quickly to replace former Treasurer Rhonda Hall, who resigned mid-January after five months on the job. Mayor Ben Holbert plans to reach out to an applicant for the position while Law Director Frank Consolo reached out to Tom Cornhoff, who served as treasurer for 22 years before retiring in May of 2019, for interim consulting.

Councilwoman Lisa Brockwell, who is chairwoman of the Finance Committee, said that Mrs. Hall left Woodmere to become finance director in Kent.

Mrs. Hall has offered to continue helping the village with various tasks through the end of February, including reviewing purchase orders, signing checks and preparing the financial statements that are due to the state in February. She has offered to work five hours per week at a cost of $50 per hour but cannot attend evening meetings such as council and finance committee.

“We’ve got to find someone,” Councilman Charles Smith said at the finance committee meeting on Monday. “This first quarter is very important,” said Mr. Smith, a committee member.

Mayor Holbert also said that the February financial statement documents the village’s finances over the past year, making it nearly 25 pages. He said that it may not be possible to complete it while working five hours per week.

Councilman Craig Wade, who is not on the finance committee but attended the meeting, clarified two separate but related issues that the village must resolve. They have an immediate need for an acting treasurer who can perform the duties that a treasurer is designated to do, such as signing checks. He said that there is also a long-term need to find a candidate for the treasurer position who is qualified, experienced and expects to stay in the position for a longer period of time.

“We need to do our due diligence to find a permanent treasurer for the village,” he said.

Mr. Smith agreed that the village is simultaneously dealing with two issues, but council needs to address the immediate need first.

“We’re trying to plug the hole first,” he said. “We have to have somebody in that position.”

Mr. Consolo reminded the committee members that the village must have a finalized 2020 budget complete by March 31. In December, the village passed a temporary budget for the first three months of 2020.

Ms. Brockwell suggested contacting Mr. Cornhoff as a consultant, who moved out of state last summer to be closer to family. Benefits coordinator Eric Hammond said that documents could be sent between Village Hall and Mr. Cornhoff if he was hired as a consultant.

Mr. Cornhoff had not responded to Mr. Consolo as of Monday night. If Mr. Cornhoff agrees to work as a consultant, Assistant Treasurer Pat Dawson agreed to serve as the interim treasurer. She also served as interim treasurer for one month between Mr. Cornhoff and Mrs. Hall last summer. The committee did not make a definite decision as of yet on contracting with Mrs. Hall until they find a new treasurer.

Ms. Dawson said that when a new treasurer is hired, even though the position is part time, he or she needs to work 40 hours for the first month to gain an understanding of how the finance department works. Mrs. Hall was paid $28,187 annually working 15 hours per week, according to Ms. Dawson.

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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