Columbus (12-17-20) – Auditor of State Keith Faber’s Office released the 2019 financial audit of Van Wert County. The audit included multiple findings including three findings for recovery totaling $3,526.

The report highlighted instances where the lack of internal controls led to mishandling of public funds.

During the audit period, the Treasurer’s office was responsible for collecting funds into the office by various County departments as well as collecting real estate tax payments. The office prepared a Daily Cash Summary sheet, which totals pay-in receipts, processing real estate and other tax payments and balancing the cash drawers. The Treasurer’s office was also responsible for depositing cash received.

The examination of documents to determine whether the Auditor’s office generated pay-ins and real estate receipts collected by the Treasurer’s office were deposited intact in the County’s bank account for the period of September 17, 2019 through September 27, 2019, identified an overall shortage of cash of $749. Due to the numerous lack of controls over the vault and cash drawers, state auditors are unable to determine if the shortage exists in the vault and / or cash drawers.

A finding for recovery was issued for $749 against Nathan Vandenbroek, Former Treasurer, and his bonding company, The Cincinnati Insurance Company, in favor of the Van Wert County treasurer’s office and the General Fund.

Auditors also reviewed documents maintained by the Treasurer’s office and the information entered into the County accounting system indicated that on August 16, 2018, $200 was unaccounted for and not deposited. On November 16, 2020, Beverly Fuerst, Former Treasurer issued a check in the amount of $200 to Van Wert County and it was deposited by the County on November 17, 2020. This finding for recovery is considered repaid under audit.  

Additionally, auditors found an issue in regards to a severance overpayment. The County handbook, states, in part, that, upon retirement from active service with the County, an employee with at least 10 years of service with the State, any political subdivisions, or any combination thereof, shall be paid in cash for 25% of the value of the employee’s accrued but unused sick leave credit with a maximum aggregate payment to the employee that shall not exceed the value of 240 hours of accrued but unused sick leave.

Due to the lack of monitoring procedures in place, Van Wert County employee Kim Saylor retired with more than 32 years of service on September 27, 2019 and was paid for unused vacation and sick leave in the amount of $17,080 on October 31, 2019. However, based upon County policy and an accurate calculation, she should have only been paid $14,503.

Since this is not considered a proper public purpose for public funds, a finding for recovery in the amount of $2,577 was issued against Kim Saylor, in favor of the Van Wert County Department of Job and Family Services Fund.

In addition to the findings for recovery, the audit also included a finding for Noncompliance of failing to file an annual financial report using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and a finding for Noncompliance and Material Weakness in regards to bank reconciliations and in regards to real estate property tax collection processes.

With a new treasurer in place since the time of the audit findings, a corrective action plan is in place.

A full copy of this report is available online.