State raps Coal Grove over audit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

COAL GROVE - The Ohio State Auditor's Office has found some problems in Coal Grove following its latest audit of village finances for the years ending Dec. 31, 2002 and Dec. 31, 2003.

Village officials said the problems listed are already being or have been addressed.

The audit's office listed four issues that must be addressed by village officials.

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According to the audit report, the village appropriated more money than it had available in several of its funds, such as sewer repair, water operating, the boat dock, and bond construction. The village also spent more money than it had appropriated in some of these areas.

"No appropriation measure is to become effective until the county auditor files a certificate that the total appropriations from each fund do not exceed the total official estimate or amended official estimate," state auditors said. …"

We recommend the village begin to monitor appropriations versus estimated resources prior to adopting or amending appropriations to ensure that they are not expending more that they have appropriated."

Coal Grove Mayor Larry McDaniel said these issues should not present a problem in the future.

"The clerk and I got together since we had the audit report and we're trying to work out those situations," McDaniel said.

"Usually we've had good audits."

State auditors also noted Coal Grove had, like many other municipalities, failed to increase the fines for some non-moving traffic offenses from $11 to $15 in the fall of 2003 and owes the state an additional $512.

McDaniel said the village was not notified by the state of the fee increase at the time it went into effect, but the change has been made now.

The audit also noted but did not substantiate reports that a village employee may have been paid for work he or she did not perform.

"Allegations were brought to the attention of the Auditor of State that a certain employee was not actually working the hours submitted on the employee's timecards. These allegations were supported by preliminary work done on the part of the village clerk and by complaints submitted by the residents of the village during open council meetings," the audit stated.

"The specific allegations were that a village employee was enrolled in and attending college classes during the hours being submitted on the timecards. …From this review, several instances were noted where the employee's class schedule and work schedule did overlap.

However, no specific instances could be substantiated due to the fact that several of those classes did not retain attendance records."

Auditors suggested that village officials more closely monitor employee timecards and McDaniel said this is being done.

McDaniel said that employee no longer works for the village and found employment elsewhere.