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$19,000 in Findings Issued in Audit of Jacksonville
Columbus – Fake utility leaks and excess payments to the former fiscal officer led to more than $19,000 in findings issued in the audit of the Village of Jacksonville (Athens County) released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“Taxpayer dollars are leaking in Jacksonville, not the water,” Auditor Yost said. “This community deserves better than these leaders who were more concerned with their pocketbooks than the public they served.”
In May 2011, the Village Council passed a resolution allowing adjustments to all utility accounts affected by a leak that had not been previously adjusted. Only two accounts were adjusted – former Mayor George Pallo’s by $1,833 and former Council Member Theron Young’s by $1,174. It was determined that their usage was consistent and did not indicate that leaks had occurred at their residences. Also, neither had made payments on their accounts for several years. In addition, neither account was included on the shut-off list, nor were they included on the delinquency listing certified to the county auditor. Findings for recovery were issued against Pallo in the amount of $1,833 and Young in the amount of $1,174.
Former Fiscal Officer Robert Sayre’s salary was approved and set at $350 per month. From April 1, 2010 through June 30, 2010, Sayre issued and cashed checks to himself above and beyond his set salary. Council never approved the nine additional checks, which totaled $6,934. A finding for recovery was issued against Sayre in that amount.
A test of expenditures and cash for 2010 found $1,139 in insufficient funds charges, returned check fees and overdraft charges charged to the village. The village was also charged with other late fees totaling $3,836. These charges are not considered to be for a proper public purpose and a finding for recovery for the total amount of $4,975 was issued against Sayre.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles #1034 made donations in the amounts of $1,455 in 2010 and $2,630 in 2011 to the Village of Jacksonville for use by the village’s fire fund. Pallo, as a member of the FOE, collected the donations on behalf of the village, but deposited the funds into the village volunteer fire department account rather than the village. A finding for recovery was issued against Jacksonville Fire and Rescue in the total amount of $4,085.
On January 10, 2013, former Mayor George Pallo was charged with two counts of grand theft and two counts of theft in office.
A full copy of the audit may be found online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,700 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.