Maple Heights, OH. - It's infrequent to have the State of Ohio Auditor visit any city. On October 19, 2022, State of Ohio Auditor Keith Faber and several team members met with Maple Heights Mayor Annette M. Blackwell and Tinita Tillman, the Finance Director. Mr. Faber is Ohio's chief compliance officer. According to the State Auditor's website, the Office of the Auditor of State ensures that the Ohio government is more efficient, effective, and transparent by placing checks and balances on state and local governments for taxpayers.
"People deserve good government. Good books and financial records are a sport. It is a great honor to be in the City of Maple Heights this evening. I came tonight to congratulate this City and present an award to the City of Maple Heights for being in the top 10% of the State of Ohio's most responsible partners out of 6,000 audits. It's effortless to go downhill, and it's hard to go upwards - the City has progressed in fiscal excellence," stated Faber.
Before Blackwell became Mayor, Maple Heights served under fiscal watch. As the City's finances grew out of control, Maple failed under a budgetary emergency during the previous administration's tenure, which is considered a fiscal emergency. "Everyone wrote us off. They did not believe in me - or the staff or the City. The State told us it would take five years to turn our City around, but they were wrong. I told them this would happen in less than five years. We did just that. Our Finance Director, Tinita Tillman, and her staff worked tirelessly to clean up our City's finances. They deserve to be honored and recognized this evening," says Mayor Blackwell.
"This day is one of my proudest moments. To go from broke to prosperity is rewarding. I commend Mayor Blackwell, Mrs. Tillman, and City Council for their leadership of being fiscally responsible," added State of Ohio Senator Kenny Yuko. Senator Yuko presented Tillman with a Senatorial Citation.
Mayor Blackwell hired Tillman in 2019. Before coming to the City of Maple Heights, Tillman was an Auditor for the State. She masters complex financial projects. "I was not sure if I wanted to work for a municipality. I was unsure about Maple, but my husband encouraged me, and the Law Director of Maple Heights sounds optimistic about the City. When the Mayor hired me, I promised to do the work. The staff committed to the challenge of turning the City around. We work long hours, and today our hard work paid off," said Tillman as she smiled. Although the spotlight is on Tillman, Tillman humbly acknowledged the staff in her office one by one. She ensured that everyone knew how vital the finance team was as she introduced them and briefed residents, guests, and stakeholders on their essential duties; Carl Macey (Payroll Administrator). Jennell Liederbach, (Administrative Assistance) and Doreen Jordan (Accountant).
"I remember several years ago when Mayor Blackwell told everyone about Maple. She would say, Maple, "a Winning City." Some people would laugh because they did not believe in our City. Great things are happening today. We can all smile and laugh. Our City made a remarkable comeback, and for this moment, we are proud," giggled Ron Jackson, President of the Council.
The City of Maple Heights sits east of Cleveland, OH, in Cuyahoga County. A seven-member council leads the City with the Mayor with an estimated population of 22,028 people.