(Posted Dec. 24, 2017)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Nick Szabo has stepped down as London city auditor. His resignation took effect Dec. 17.
In a statement dated Dec. 17, Mayor Patrick Closser wrote, “(Szabo’s) voluntary resignation was tendered after an issue arose and the matter was referred to the Ohio Auditor’s Office.”
When asked about the specific nature of the issue, Closser declined to comment.
The remainder of Closser’s written statement is as follows: “Mr. Szabo has expressed sincere remorse for the issue and vacated the office immediately. All matters will be handled by the Ohio Auditor’s Office.
“The city administration and I will always demand integrity, dignity and respect from our employees and elected officials, without exception. The city of London has a resilient spirit, and I trust that brighter days are coming for our community.”
Ben Marrison, director of communications for the Ohio Auditor’s Office, confirmed that the state office received information from Closser and is reviewing that information. Marrison declined to comment further on the matter.
In a statement submitted with his resignation letter, Szabo said his decision to resign was made in consideration of the best interests of his family.
He went on to write: “I have enjoyed serving (as) the auditor for the great city of London, Ohio, for the past two years. I wish nothing but prosperity and accomplishment for London and the Madison County Republican Party. I decline to offer further comment at this time.”
Szabo joined the London auditor’s office in August 2015 to work on payroll. In November of that year, shortly after winning election to a four-year term, Katie Hensel resigned as city auditor to take a job outside the county. The Madison County Republican Central Committee appointed Szabo to serve the first two years of Hensel’s term. In November of this year, Szabo, a Republican, ran unopposed to win election to the remaining two years of the unexpired term. The term ends on Dec. 31, 2019.
As for who will handle the auditor’s duties in the short term and in the long term, Closser said, “We are currently figuring everything out on that issue.”
On Dec. 19, Nick Adkins, chairman of the Republican Central Committee, said he planned to meet with city administration to discuss options for filling the vacancy. He said the options are as follows:
– Closser could appoint someone to fill the position;
– Closser could opt not to make an appointment, in which case the London members of the central committee would make the appointment;
– Closser could make a short-term appointment, and the central committee could follow with a longer-term appointment of the same or a different person.
In any case, the appointment would stand only until the November 2018 election, Adkins said. Individuals interested in serving out the rest of the term from November 2018 through December 2019 would have to run in the May primary and November general election this year.
Should the central committee make an appointment, law dictates that the committee can do so no earlier than five days and no later than 45 days after a resignation becomes effective. In this case, the window is Dec. 21 to Jan. 30.