VAN WERT — Van Wert County Treasurer Nathan Vandenbroek submitted a letter of resignation to the Van Wert County commissioners, effective Jan. 31.
In the letter, Vandenbroek indicated that on Dec. 18, he met with commissioner Todd Wolfrum, prosecutor Eva Yarger and a member of the Van Wert Republican Central Committee.
“I was given the opportunity to resign or have filings completed through the Auditor of State’s Office regarding Ohio Revised Code 321.37,” Vandenbroek wrote, referencing legislation about “allegations against county treasurer.” “After working with my attorney and looking at the overall well-being of Van Wert County, I feel it is my due diligence to step back.”
Van Wert County Commissioner Thad Lichtensteiger said Vandenbroek’s resignation was necessary.
“It was necessary because our treasurer was struggling on several fronts, to be able to carry out the duties of his office, and for some reason, whether he didn’t get his employees trained or he wasn’t up to speed himself, we were having trouble getting taxes collected,” Lichtensteiger said. “So consequently, without collecting taxes accurately, we were getting checks in, but we weren’t getting them lined up with the proper parcels. Then it became almost impossible for our auditor to write various checks to the various different municipalities for the money that was due then to the cities, the city, the villages, the townships, all the different entities that receive monies from they were counting on.”
Philip Baxter, the auditor, allegedly broke into the treasurer’s office on May 30, causing criminal charges to be filed against Baxter and two other staffers. He’s on leave, with Nancy Dixon filling in for him.
Lichtensteiger believes a personal rift between Baxter and Vandenbroek stood in the way of getting things done.
“At some point, they became adversaries instead of friends. If you’ve got two individuals who occupy that office who can’t even carry on basic conversations, then it becomes almost impossible for that arrangement to be successful,” he said.
Lichtensteiger said Vandenbroek’s desk has already been cleaned out. The Republican party will need to appoint someone soon to take over as county treasurer.
“I think our tentative plan is to get somebody to lead that office until the primary,” he said
The winner of the Republican primary between Gearld T. Mazur and Jeff McIntosh would be the de facto treasurer, since there is no Democratic opposition for the seat.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.