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$21,000-plus in Findings for Recovery Included in 2019-2020 Audit of the Village of Spencerville in Allen County
For Immediate Release
Contact: Marc Kovac
Columbus – Findings for recovery of more than $21,000 were issued against officials in the Village of Spencerville in Allen County after employees were overcompensated and bills were paid late, resulting in penalty and interest fees, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced Thursday.
The issues were among 32 findings included in Spencerville’s biennial audit for 2019 and 2020, which noted multiple deficiencies and other problems. Notably:
Findings for recovery of $2,862 against Fiscal Officer Lori Och and her bonding company and $353 against Village Administrator Sean Chapman were issued after both were overpaid in 2019 and 2020. Och and her bonding company are also jointly and severally liable for Chapman’s finding, as Och signed the warrants that resulted in his overpayments.
A finding for recovery of $17,708 was issued against Och and her bonding company after she failed to pay bills and remit pension and payroll withholdings on time, resulting in late fees and interest payments, which are not considered a proper public purpose. The Village failed to timely remit employees withholdings and employer contributions to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System in six of 12 months in both 2019 and 2020.
A finding for recovery of $150 was issued against Och, Clerk of Courts Heather Barber, Mayor Phillips Briggs, and their bonding companies, to cover fines for traffic and code violations that were paid through Spencerville Mayor’s Court but not deposited into Village accounts.
The Village Police Department maintained a separate bank account for the donation of funds that was not included in the Village’s 2019 and 2020 financial statements. There were also no ordinance, resolution, or control policies in place establishing how the funds were derived or to be used.
The 2019-2020 audit was not the first time state auditors identified problems with Spencerville’s financial records. The Village was declared “unauditable’ in June 2019 after financial records and bank reconciliations proved inadequate for auditors to complete their review.
In responses included in the 2019-2020 audit report, Village officials indicated they had corrected issues that resulted in findings for recovery and other deficiencies.
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 Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.