An independent accountant presented condensed results from Taneytown’s 2018 audit to the mayor and City Council at its monthly council workshop Wednesday, Oct. 3.
While the audit presentation concluded without controversy, the same could not be said for the “old business” section of the council workshop.
Taneytown’s financial reporting passed without issue, Michele Mills, a certified public accountant with DeLeon & Stang, told the council.
“No instances of non-compliance required to be reported under Government Auditing Standards,” she wrote in a PowerPoint presentation that summarized the dense audit.
The city accrued nearly $290,000 more than it expected in revenues and spent $627,455 less than it expected, the audit presentation revealed.
Council members had few questions, as they had not seen the full audit report until the meeting, but will have time to examine it carefully before it will vote whether to approve the audit at its monthly council meeting Tuesday, Oct. 9. Usually held on the second Monday of each month, the city moved the meeting to Tuesday because the regular meeting date conflicted with Columbus Day.
The meeting took a trip back in time when Councilman Joe Vigliotti employed agenda time slated for “old business” to bring up new developments regarding the censure of Councilman Donald Frazier.
The Taneytown council voted to censure Frazier after he did not attend a Maryland Municipal League conference the city says he signed up for, costing the city over $1,000 in hotel fees and conference registration.
Frazier sent a letter, dated Sept. 17, 2018, to Vigliotti and all of the council candidates. The letter referenced the censure.
“I am sorry for the trouble that has come from the confusion about the Summer Conference registration and would like very much to put it behind us,” Frazier wrote.
Frazier continued, writing that he reimbursed the city for the hotel fees and MML registration. But the councilman denied having ever signed up for the event.
The city confirmed that Frazier reimbursed the complete cost of $193 for the reservations at the Clarion Hotel in Ocean City, but it is still $850 in the negative. “We never signed anything or committed to go this summer because we were busy with [Frazier’s wife] Robin’s run for the Clerk of the Court,” he wrote.
Vigliotti said he reluctantly brought up the letter not because of its contents, but because all of the letters to council members had Vigliotti’s home address stamped on the back of the envelopes.
“On the envelope he included my personal address on the back,” Vigliotti said. “So I wanted to say first of all that I had nothing to do with this letter that Councilman Frazier sent out and second of all that I find this unacceptable.”
Asked by Vigliotti at the public forum why his address was included, Frazier said he included Vigliotti’s address on the back because he needed to use stickers from when Vigliotti was part of the Tri State Republican Club, “and that’s the last of them.”
Vigliotti confirmed he was a part of the club until sometime in 2015.
Councilman Bradley Wantz said that he never received his letter because it was delivered to Vigliotti’s house because the postal service mistakenly scanned Vigliotti’s address (on the back).
“I think there was some deception meant there,” Wantz said, “I’m not sure what would go through someone’s mind to do such a thing.”
Frazier told the Times he meant no harm or ill will, and that he sent the letter only to his fellow council members. He maintains that he was trying to “extend an olive branch” in an effort to make amends with his colleagues for the censure issue. He also maintained that he never signed up to go to the conference, calling it a lie.
“It is a great crime to say I committed to go and would not go,” he wrote in the letter.
Attached to each letter was an excerpt from a poem.
Scanned over the page next to the poem was one of Frazier’s business cards that says he’s the executive director of Agora Evangelism Ministries, Inc. (in Taneytown) and at least one reference to The Church of the Open Door, which is in Westminster.
Two other images are superimposed, but too blurry to decipher completely.
Frazier referenced the attached poem in his letter.
“I hope you enjoy the poem,” he wrote. “I cried last Thursday went I read through it.”
A line from the poem reading “The greatest crimes disturbs the Judge's bench” was circled in pen.