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Report Finds $85,000 in Undocumented Spending by Pike County Convention Bureau Chief
Columbus – The executive director of the Pike County Convention and Visitors Bureau used the bureau’s credit card and checking account to pay for $85,390 in undocumented expenses, according to an audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
A finding for recovery was issued against Executive Director Sharon Manson for that amount. Manson claimed that $22,602 of the total was for business expenses, but she provided no receipts to document those expenses. The remainder of the finding included electronic transfers, additional expenditures and credit-card transactions that lacked the documentation to prove that they served a proper public purpose.
In addition, two bureau trustees are jointly responsible for part of the findings against Manson because they signed some of the checks for the undocumented expenses. Trustee Juli Manning, who no longer serves in that position, was issued a finding for recovery of $1,786 and Trustee Julia Dixon was issued a finding for recovery of $13,334.
The audit covered bureau finances from 2013 through 2016.
“Our auditors found an agency that lacked the most fundamental internal financial controls,” said Auditor Yost. “There were no policies governing bank reconciliations or travel and mileage reimbursements, and officers did not keep accurate ledgers of receipts and disbursement accounts. The payroll ledger for the period also was incomplete. Payroll taxes were collected, but not all were remitted to the state and federal governments.”
Auditors tested 2,269 transactions and found 914 that lacked proper documentation. These included credit card and business checking accounts, as well as an account for the county’s bicentennial celebration.
Auditors also tested 219 receipts and found that 95 were not properly documented to show that the receipts were deposited and accounted for.
The bureau also failed to prepare annual financial statements for the years reviewed, auditors reported.
Auditors noted that because of the small size of the bureau staff, it was impossible to segregate financial duties, which is a key financial safeguard. Because of this, the Board of Trustees should have exercised careful oversight of the executive director’s financial operations, but failed to do so.
Auditors recommended that the Bureau adopt and implement internal financial control policies to address the numerous gaps identified in the report.
A full copy of this report is available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 6,000 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.