Avon Lake

No one will be appointed the acting finance director until City Council resumes Monday.

Council President Greg Zilka confirmed Daniel Eckert of Robert Half Management Resources is replacing Anna Musson as the acting finance director. Eckert will be appointed Monday in a special meeting.

“There is no problem in terms of controversy one can find on Google, because that was looked at,” Zilka said. “(Eckert) assured us there was nothing like that in his past.”

The city is currently searching for a new finance director to replace Tom DiLellio, who resigned July 29 after he failed to obtain a legally required surety bond.

City Council originally planned to appoint Musson as acting finance director last Thursday night but canceled the meeting after council members learned of allegations against Musson in her previous jobs in other cities.

Musson, who now works for Robert Half Management Resources, once served as the finance director for both Ashland and Macedonia.

Ward 4 Councilman Dave Kos searched for Musson’s name online and sent an e-mail to the rest of council with links to news stories about Musson’s resignations from both cities in 2009.

“There was some issues with her past employment,” Kos said. “Specifically coming off what we’re coming off of, I didn’t know if that was the best candidate to fill the position, either part time or permanently.”

According to stories published by the Times-Gazette in Ashland, Musson resigned from her position as finance director of Ashland June 1, 2009. She announced in March her intent to resign and that she would become the finance director for the city of Macedonia. She intended to work for both cities between the time of her announcement and June 1 so she could finish work on the state’s audit in Ashland. On June 25, 2009, Musson resigned from her position in Macedonia. The paper reported she did not give an explanation in her resignation letter.

The Times-Gazette also wrote about allegations that Musson created a hostile work environment in the finance department. One employee alleged Musson pushed her down the stairs in the Ashland Municipal Building. There was no action taken in this claim.

Both Ashland Mayor Glen Stewart and Council President Stephen Stuart declined to comment on Musson. Stuart said the Times-Gazette stories gave “a pretty good portrayal of things.”

“I have absolutely no comment,” Stewart said. “The public records may speak for themselves, but I cannot and will not comment on Anna in any way, shape or form.”

Musson was “extremely well qualified,” Kos said, but the appearance of “excess baggage” made it best for the city to find someone else. The claims against Musson could be exaggerated or false, he said, and he’s giving her the benefit of the doubt.

“We didn’t want to take a risk when it came to examining who the interim would be,” he said, adding it is better to part ways before making a commitment.

Mayor K.C. Zuber previously told The Press he was aware of the issues and had spoken to Musson about them. He said she described herself as a watchdog for the taxpayers and said politics were in play.

“I think the issue is all of a political nature,” he said. “As (Musson was) an elected official, I think it’s all about politics.”

The acting finance director is mainly someone who would fill a temporary need and sign checks, he said.

“This is not somebody that’s going to make any wholesale changes,” he said.

Robert Half Management Resources has many employees who could fill the position, Zuber said, but the company recommended Musson because of her past local government experience.

There had been some confusion among council members, who believed they had only hired the company to work for the city. Law Director Bill Kerner recommended the city approve the acting finance director so the director could sign checks.

Though there won’t be an appointed acting finance director until Monday, Zilka said there will be no interruption in the city’s payroll. As council president, he is authorized to co-sign the checks along with the mayor.

Contact Bryan Wroten at bwroten@2presspapers.com

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