City of Hilliard Investigating Potential Theft of City Funds – Suspect Charged

Posted December 22, 2017 in Your Community by Anna Subler

We would like to provide an update on the theft of cash investigation between the Hilliard Division of Police and the State of Ohio’s Auditor’s Office. Below is a statement that was released to the media today.

Hilliard (OH) — On Friday, Dec. 22, the Hilliard Division of Police charged the former Deputy Director of Recreation and Parks, Heather Ernst, with theft in office as part of its ongoing investigation into missing cash deposits from fees collected at the City’s two pools.

“A long-serving member of our staff took advantage of her authority and the public’s trust,” said Hilliard Mayor Don Schonhardt. “She will be held accountable in a court of law.”

The investigation is ongoing and the City will continue working with the Hilliard Division of Police and the State Auditor’s Office until its conclusion. The City will keep the public informed as the investigation continues, and more information becomes available.

The City will continue working with the state auditor’s office to have an in-depth review of the City’s Financial controls. An outside entity will be hired to review the City’s policies and procedures, including financial accountability and personnel administration, in all departments. In addition, the City will implement a cashless system and is investigating the best options for that to occur.

“I want to ensure we are implementing best practices to manage and account for all public dollars,” Schonhardt said. “While I have no reason to believe that any other cash funds or public dollars have been unaccounted for, I want a holistic review of our policies and procedures.”

The case will unfold in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. No further comments will be made by the City of Hilliard at this time.