Thursday, October 5, 2017
Columbus – A handful of current and former officials owe Carroll Township (Ottawa County) a combined $28,180 after a state audit revealed their pay was miscalculated during 2014 and 2015.
State law lists the authorized pay rates for trustees and fiscal officers based on their township’s annual projected budget, which is considered the total resources available for spending. The audit found that former Fiscal Officer Jessica Brough overstated the township’s estimated budget by more than $668,000 during 2014, triggering overpayments to herself and three trustees.
“Taxpayers lost out on tens of thousands of dollars because this fiscal officer was in over her head,” Auditor Yost said. “The only way for these administrators to right this wrong is by returning all of the unearned dollars to the township.”
Auditors determined that the township’s actual budget for the year totaled $5.3 million, but Brough reported a projected amount of $6 million to the county budget commission for certification.
Brough calculated pay for herself and the trustees based on the overstated budget, using the pay level for a $6-10 million budget rather than the correct pay level for a $3.5-6 million budget. The miscalculations caused Brough to receive a $3,134 overpayment, and each trustee was overpaid by $3,652 during 2014.
The following year, Brough failed to certify the township’s projected budget with the county budget commission, resulting in a recorded budget of $0. Auditors calculated the township’s budget for the year and found the four officials received the same overpayments as they did during the prior year.
Auditors issued findings for recovery in the following amounts to recoup the overpayments:
Brough is jointly and severally liable for the amounts owed by the three trustees because she authorized the excess payments.
In a separate finding, auditors found that Brough failed to post updates to the Uniform Accounting Network in a timely matter. During the two-year period, she delayed posting bi-weekly payroll disbursements to the system by up to 11 months.
The report also cites the township for poor internal controls over public records. The township could not locate any hourly employee timesheets from 2014, minutes from six meetings held in 2014 or a permanent appropriation resolution from 2015.
A full copy of this report is available online.
Click here to read more about the laws regulating compensation for township officials.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.