Cincinnati City Schools Overpaid 561 Employees by Combined $413,449
Columbus – The Cincinnati City School District (Hamilton County) erroneously overpaid 561 employees by a combined $413,449 in 2014, two-thirds of which has been returned to the district, according to an audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
In August of that year, the district standardized its pay periods in an effort to simplify payroll processes. However, for the pay period following the transition, some employees were paid for 10 days instead of the five days they worked.
It is unclear at what point the district realized the error, although several employees came forward to return overpayments as early as November 2014. Auditors learned the district told some employees who questioned the excess amounts that the payments were not erroneous and would work themselves out.
“Most people would notice if their paycheck doubled unexpectedly,” Auditor Yost said, “I commend those employees who spotted the error and brought it to the district’s attention. Unfortunately, the district’s fiscal personnel did not follow up to the extent they should have.”
While investigating the payroll cycle overpayments, auditors identified a separate error caused by the district setting some employees’ longevity pay rates at $.80 per hour instead of the authorized rate of $.08 per hour. The incorrect rates were initially paid in August 2014 and, in some cases, continued through May 2016.
The Auditor of State’s office notified all overpaid employees by Oct. 25, 2016 of the amounts owed to the district. As of Nov. 9, $279,552 has been repaid through payroll deductions, direct payments and leave adjustments.
Findings for recovery totaling $133,897 were issued against the remaining 313 individuals with balances due. Former Treasurer Diana Whitt and current Treasurer Jennifer Wagner are jointly and severally liable in the amounts of $128,461 and $5,436, respectively. The district is responsible for recovering the overpaid amounts.
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 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.