Source: Sherman Publications

My Way
Now Helmuth really has to go

by CJ Carnacchio

March 02, 2011

Can there be any doubt left that Oxford Village Councilwoman Maureen “Moe” Helmuth needs to be removed from office?

It appears her role in concealing an alleged embezzlement from 2006-07 might have helped cost the village taxpayers approximately $5,000 from this year’s property tax funds (see story on Page 1).

To recap, Helmuth previously admitted that when she discovered Deputy Clerk Pat Paad had allegedly embezzled $2,000 to $3,500 in village tax money about five years ago, she chose not to report it, but instead decided to loan Paad the money to repay the municipality.

Helmuth kept quiet about the whole thing until Jan. 25 of this year. She finally spoke up because she had concerns about Paad’s honesty as related to her candidacy for the village clerk position.

Now, village officials are saying that approximately $5,000 in tax funds, paid in cash for the July 2010 tax bill, are missing and the evidence they’ve uncovered appears to point to Paad.

To me, had Helmuth done her duty and reported the alleged embezzlement back in 2006-07 – as opposed to helping cover it up with her money and her silence – the village taxpayers might not be missing $5,000 right now.

If Paad is responsible for this missing $5,000 as the records uncovered by village officials seem to suggest, then Helmuth’s severe lack of judgment, failure to do her duty, disregard for the law, and placement of personal friendship above public trust have cost the village taxpayers a significant amount of their hard-earned money.

Is Helmuth once again going to reach into her pocket and cover the taxpayers’ losses with her own money?

I honestly don’t know what more to say or write.

Helmuth is not fit to serve on council. She has betrayed the taxpayers she was elected to serve and embarrassed the community by once again demonstrating that Oxford consistently puts the wrong folks in public office.

I hope she does the honorable thing and resigns.

If not, I would hope some concerned village resident would step forward and campaign for her recall.

On a side note, I have to wonder – as a I have for years now – exactly who is overseeing the village office because it certainly isn’t Manager Joe Young.

The alleged embezzlement from 2006-07 occurred under his administration. The subsequent cover-up that Helmuth admitted to happened under Young’s watch. Now, the village is missing approximately $5,000 and guess who’s still in charge?

Instead of flitting around town like a social butterfly attending and taking minutes for meetings related to the Polly Ann Trail, North Oakland Transportation Authority, Oxford-Addison Youth Assistance and the Community Leaders braintrust, Young should be spending more time in the office keeping an eye on village business.

Our esteemed “Citizen of the Year” should be spending less time schmoozing and chatting up folks around town, and more time making sure the village’s finances are up to snuff and the taxpayers’ money is safe and secure in the bank.

I know attending social events, cutting ceremonial ribbons, and making balloon animals is loads more fun than actually working, but I have this crazy notion that the village manager should actually manage the village.