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Liberty School Treasurer Illegally Paid Herself
Columbus – Despite a contract agreement that did not provide for extra pay, the treasurer of the Liberty Local School District (Trumbull County) paid herself nearly $5,000 for work done at the district’s charter school, according to an audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“The power to write the checks doesn’t give you permission to write extra ones to yourself,” Auditor Yost said. “This money must be returned to the taxpayers.”
The Liberty Local School District operates a community school within the district called the Liberty Early Academy Resource Nest (LEARN). The district entered into an agreement with LEARN to have the district’s fiscal officer also perform fiscal officer duties for LEARN. The agreement stated that the district would proportionally reduce the amount of time she spent performing district job duties, but the agreement did not provide additional compensation to the treasurer for duties performed for LEARN.
The district’s treasurer, Tracey Obermiyer, paid herself, without school board approval, $4,920 for the fiscal officer duties provided for LEARN. Since Obermiyer was not entitled to additional compensation through the agreement, a finding for recovery in the amount of $4,920 was issued against Obermiyer for public monies illegally expended.
The Liberty Local School District was placed in fiscal emergency by the Auditor of State’s office on July 11, 2011 based on projected deficits. Information regarding this fiscal emergency declaration can be found online.
Citations were issued through this financial audit related to the district’s budgetary issues. The district failed to file paperwork stating estimated resources available, and therefore appropriations never became effective. In addition, the treasurer failed to enter the district’s budget amounts into the accounting system. The audit also provides a list of duties that the treasurer failed to perform, including monthly bank reconciliations.
A full copy of this audit may be accessed online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 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.