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State Auditor Issues $60,000 in Findings for Recovery to Village of Smithfield
Village of Smithfield Audit Released Today
Columbus – Lax controls at the Village of Smithfield led to $60,346 in findings for recovery issued in the 2008-2009 audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“When walking down the street, the cautious person keeps their back pocket buttoned to prevent pick pocketing,” Auditor Yost said. “Village officials must do the same thing and put safeguards into place to ensure not only taxpayer money, but also their trust, is protected.”
In 2009, the Village Clerk/Treasurer Sara Morris paid herself for performing contractual services for the police department. She did so without authorization from the legislative body of the village, and therefore the payments did not constitute proper public purpose. Findings for recovery were issued against Morris in the amount of $2,700.
From April 1, 2008 through March 30, 2010, Morris also held the title of mayor’s court clerk. During this period, some monies collected were not always deposited into the village account. Findings for recovery in the total amount of $11,171 were issued against Morris for public money collected but not accounted for.
Former Village Water and Sewer Clerk Katherine Staten was responsible for billing, collecting and depositing water and sewer monies. From September 2008 through April 12, 2010, some of the revenue collected for water and sewer services was not deposited into the village account. Findings for recovery in the total amount of $37,855 were issued against Staten. On April 26, 2010, Staten repaid $30,000 to the village, leaving an unpaid amount of $7,855.
Another Village Water and Sewer Clerk, Debbie Cihon, posted payments to customer accounts but did not deposit the payments into the village water and sewer collection account. The amount of funds not deposited for the period of May 2010 through July 2010 was $1,318, and findings for recovery were issued against Cihon.
More than $7,000 in additional findings for recovery were issued in the audit for unsupported expenditures and reimbursements, as well as for an overpayment to the clerk/treasurer.
The findings in this audit have been turned over to the Jefferson County Prosecutor and Sheriff’s Office.
A full copy of this 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 5,600 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.