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Interim Stark treasurer waiting to begin new duties

Published: September 8, 2010 12:03 AM

By STEPHANIE UJHELYI

News Leader Alliance Bureau

It is not just a matter of filling Gary Zeigler's chair in the Stark County Treasurer's Office.

Deputy Treasurer Jaime Allbritain, who was named Aug. 23 as interim treasurer, until the Democratic Party fills the position in the November election, has yet to been sworn in.

As of Aug. 25, Allbritain's official title still was a deputy, just like her colleagues, as she awaited her bonding. Although officials filed the application Aug. 24, the bond company contacted the county earlier Aug. 25 with additional questions, Allbritain said.

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While Zeigler only was bonded for $500,000, Allbritain must be bonded for $5 million, which is a new requirement for the position.

She already has encountered some controversy, as she holds a two-year degree from Stark State College and is a certified public accountant. Allbritain said that she earned her CPA by "taking an equivalency test some years ago."

Until reports emerged of the theft of $2.4 million in county funds by Chief Deputy Treasurer Vince Frustaci, who worked under Zeigler's supervision, not much was known about Allbritain.

She explained that she began working for the county treasurer in November 2007 with her primary duties centering around managing the budget system. Most recently, she explained, after Frustaci was terminated, Allbritain took over the county's investment portfolio. "(Vince) had handled it for four to five months before he left," she added.

"I'm pretty much holding down the fort with the support of our staff," Allbritain said. Before coming to county employment, Allbritain worked for almost a decade as an auxiliary clerk for Canton City Schools' Heritage Christian Center, and later as an accountant for the Area Agency on Aging for two years.

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She was undecided about whether she wanted the county-treasurer job permanently. "I'm not looking to hold it at this point," Allbritain explained.

A resident of Canton, along with her two teenage daughters, Allbritain does recognize the uniqueness of being a staunch Republican who has been appointed to fill a seat currently held by Democrats, overseen by a Democratic board of commissioners.

"Yes, I am a Republican and I'm not planning to change that; however, this isn't about politics. It is about running this office," she explained. "I'm excited to get this opportunity to keep the positive changes on track."

Once her bond is approved, Allbritain will need to resign as deputy treasurer to fill the treasurer's position. She hopes to be sworn in officially once her bond is secured.

Allbritain does have someone in mind to issue her the oath of office. "Stark County Common Pleas Court Taryn Heath," she explained. "We went to school together."

She will hold the office until the Stark County Democratic Party officially appoints Zeigler's successor, since that is Zeigler's party affiliation. Then it will be up to the voters to make their choice on Nov. 2.

Allbritain hopes to have a deputy treasurer position back effective in 2011, when the public's choice for treasurer takes office.

sujhelyi@the-review.com


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