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Fairfield Co. Official Resigns Amid Investigation

LANCASTER, Ohio (Brooks Jarosz/Ken Hines) The Fairfield County Clerk of Courts has resigned amid a months-long investigation into alleged financial improprieties.

Deborah Smalley resigned Thursday morning via a letter to County Commissioner Steve Davis, according to Smalley's attorney Scott P. Wood.

Smalley claims it is in the best interest of the county for her to resign instead of continuing to contest a motion filed in the Supreme Court of Ohio to remove her from office, according to Wood.

The attorney told ABC 6/FOX 28 his client's resignation is not a concession of guilt. Instead, he says the resignation will save the county money by avoiding expenses associated with the appeal process, and also by eliminating Smalley's salary and benefits.

Wood said the move will also allow taxpayers to avoid the expense of holding up to three elections in a short time.

Smalley and her husband, Dave, were arrested in October as a result of a special audit ordered by Auditor of State Dave Yost in August following a preliminary investigation into activities at the clerk's office.

The investigation concerned allegations that arose in mid-June, when former employees complained they were required to make campaign contributions and work on Smalley's reelection effort while on county time.

After the allegations came to light, security cameras caught Dave Smalley using his wife's key card to enter the clerk's office after business hours on June 30, bringing into, and removing items from, the building.

Smalley is charged with theft in office, while her husband faces a count of complicity to unlawful interest in a public contract.

Smalley anticipates being formally charged by an indictment some time in late January, according to Wood.

The Fairfield County Commissioners will be meeting at 9:30 a.m. Friday to name a replacement who will serve until the Republican Central Committee meets to fill the vacancy.

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