Appearing before Pickerington City Council last week for the last time as the city's finance director, Linda Fersch and her office were recognized by the Ohio Auditor's Office for excellence in financial accounting.

Appearing before Pickerington City Council last week for the last time as the city's finance director, Linda Fersch and her office were recognized by the Ohio Auditor's Office for excellence in financial accounting.

Several minutes into city council's final meeting of 2009 on Dec. 15, Fersch gave her last finance director's report.

The 30-year city employee -- Pickerington's only finance director since its municipal charter was enacted in 1980 -- is retiring from that job on Dec. 31. She will stay on for one additional year as the city's personnel director.

Before presenting her final report, however, Fersch and the city's finance department were presented with a Making Your Tax Dollars Count Award from the Ohio Auditor's Office.

The award recognizes Pickerington for excellence in financial accounting following its fiscal year 2008 audit.

"This award is presented to fewer than 5 percent of all (Ohio) government agencies," said Rob Pike, a central Ohio liaison for the auditor's office. "You are in select company."

In order to receive the Making Your Tax Dollars Count Award, a governmental agency must complete and submit a comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR), and there must be no findings or issues present in the report.

There also must be no other financial concerns.

"This award recognizes those that place a high priority on financial accountability," Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor said in a press statement. "Pickerington officials have demonstrated their commitment to properly account for taxpayer dollars and I am pleased to be able to recognize that commitment."

Fersch will be replaced as city finance director on Jan. 1 by Chris Schornack, who has spent the past four years as Pickerington's deputy finance director.

In accepting the auditor's award, Fersch credited Schornack, city clerk Lynda Yartin and others for contributing to Pickerington's financial accounting and transparency.

"It's a combination of everybody's records," Fersch said. "We all work together as a team and this is showing our efforts."