Taylor Releases City of Wellston Audit

Monday, November 19, 2007

Jackson County -

Auditor of State Mary Taylor released the audit of the city of Wellston for fiscal year 2006. The audit questions the city’s financial ability to continue operating.

“The city’s financial deficits are an ongoing concern,” Taylor said. “If city officials cannot meet current financial obligations, this poses a serious threat to the city’s ability to continue operating.”

The audit states that the city’s poor financial condition has been an ongoing issue for the past several years. Deficits in the city’s cemetery and garbage funds are listed as $151,740 and $84,753 respectively. The audit notes that the city has not presented a plan for continued operation given its financial uncertainty.

The audit also raises concerns about city council members conducting business with companies the council members own without providing documentation showing that other vendors were considered. Auditors recommend abstaining from any legislative vote a council member may directly benefit. This matter was referred to the Ohio Ethics Commission for review.

Additionally, the audit reveals that city employees used city-owned equipment for personal use raising questions of unethical activity. The city’s response indicates that this practice has stopped.

The Ohio Auditor of State’s Office is one of the largest accounting offices in the nation.  The office strives to ensure that all public funds are spent legally and appropriately and works aggressively to root out fraud, waste and abuse in public spending. Taylor encourages anyone suspecting fraud or misspending of public dollars to contact her office toll free at 1-866-FRAUD-OH (1-866-372-8364).

A full copy of the audit is available online at www.auditor.state.oh.us.