Village of Newtonsville Audit Finds Unsupported Spending, Conflict of Interest
Columbus – A newly-released audit of the Village of Newtonsville reports almost $700 in undocumented spending and a violation of the state’s laws governing conflicts of interest.
The report released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost orders current Fiscal Officer Dan Burke and his predecessor Rhonda McVey to repay a combined $696 to the Clermont County village for failing to maintain supporting documentation for the spending.
“Government accountability hinges on the ability to track public spending,” Auditor Yost said. “In a small community facing fiscal distress, keeping tabs on every single dollar is of the utmost importance.”
Auditors issued a $562 finding for recovery against Burke for three debit card transactions and one check payment. McVey owes $134 for a single debit card transaction. All of the questioned spending occurred during 2014 and 2015.
The only descriptions provided for some of the payments were “Reimbursement,” “Police Department” and “Two copiers / printers.” Without additional supporting documentation, auditors could not determine if the expenditures served a proper public purpose.
Auditors also reported an ethics violation stemming from a former council member’s vote to approve a $1,000 contract for her husband to build a Frisbee golf course. Under state law, Theresa Baker should have abstained from voting when council considered the contract in July 2015.
According to the report, the village lacked a policy addressing conflicts of interest. The Auditor’s office is referring the matter to the Ohio Ethics Commission.
Auditor Yost placed the village of 392 people in fiscal caution and declared it “unauditable” in April 2016 because of deficiencies in its financial records. Today’s audit release signals the village’s removal from the “unauditable” list.
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.