Township trustees say Oda resignation leaves them with 30-day deadline

The trustees of this growing township on the Montgomery-Warren county line moved quickly Monday to replace Fiscal Officer Linda Oda within the 30 days allowed by state law.

The Clearcreek Twp. trustees said they were surprised by the timing of Oda’s resignation-retirement after what she described as 10 “bumpy” years.

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“She did not give us a timeline,” said Trustee Ed Wade, adding he recently called Oda about this and got no firm answer.

The trustees unanimously voted to formalize Oda's departure, effective Friday, from the elected township position. They also appointed her assistant township financial coordinator and directed staff to post the fiscal officer opening for 14 days on the township web site.

On Friday, Oda, who remains county recorder in Warren County, said she was retiring from the office, effective that day, but had notified the trustees of her plans in February.

“It was good time for me to leave,” Oda said. “It’s been a bumpy road.”

Clearcreek Twp. is the unincorporated area generally east and south of Springboro. Its fire department handles calls within the city and the population is more than 30,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Oda said the trustee-fiscal officer relationship was naturally adversarial and she and the trustees clashed most recently over privatizing payroll services.

Oda has served as fiscal officer since 2007 and planned to leave during this term.

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In 2009, a special prosecutor declined to pursue charges after an Ohio Ethics Commission investigation over Wade’s office’s administration of township insurance, triggered by a state audit aided by Oda. Wade’s office ended the relationship.

In 2012, Oda testified against the trustees in a public meetings lawsuit that ended with the township being ordered to pay $200,000.

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Oda would otherwise be up for re-election next year as township fiscal officer.

The office pays $31,064 a year, according to Administrator Matt Clark.

Last year, she ran for trustee against incumbents Wade and Steve Muterspaw, and lost.

“I’m tired of fighting,” Oda she said in a phone interview on Friday. “I wish them well.”

Oda also urged the trustees to find a qualified replacement to handle the township’s $15 million budget.

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Oda said she wanted to focus on the county office and other countywide opportunities.

“That’s where my heart is,” she said.

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Before the meeting, Trustee Jason Gabbard said he thought Oda decided to pursue the duties of her other elected office and other opportunities.

“It was probably on the bottom of her priority list,” he said, adding the privatization of the payroll would make it more efficient.

On Friday, Township Administrator Matt Clark acknowledged Oda was retiring, but the resolution approved by the trustees described it as a resignation.

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It was the second time recently the trustees had been forced to scramble to replace a key official.

Gabbard stepped in and ran the township for more than a month in 2017 after Administrator Jack Cameron left for an administrator job in Delhi Twp.

“Jack’s resignation caught everybody off guard,” Oda said at the time.

The trustees also reassigned Assistant Fiscal Officer Michael Dean of Springboro, under the direction of Clark in a new job, Finance Coordinator. He will continue to be paid $49,920 a year to handle the fiscal officer duties until a replacment is picked by July 15, Clark said.

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On Monday, Dean said he had been Oda’s assistant for 15 months after working primarily as a regional manager in the retail sector.

Asked if he planned to pursue appointment to Oda’s office, Dean said, “I don’t know at this point. I’ve got enough to do.”

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