Dog shelter loses gas cards

Published 11:01 am Thursday, June 23, 2016

Auditor refuses to pay Speedway bill

Trying to protect one of his animals from a neighbor’s dogs running lose sent Bill Klaiber to what he thought was his only resource — the county animal shelter.

It was last Friday when a staff member told him there was no one available to come to his County Road 30 farm.

“I was told one guy was on vacation and the other had his allotted hours in for the week and was sent home,” Klaiber said.

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Then, he was told someone would get back to him on Monday. When that didn’t happened, Klaiber called again.

“I was told to shoot the dogs,” he said. “I shouldn’t have to shoot a neighbor’s dog that has a collar on. Then they told me, ‘We don’t have any gas cards. We can’t go anywhere.’”

According to dog warden Bill Click, the Ohio Revised Code allows an individual to shoot a dog if it is approaching in an attacking manner or is killing livestock or pets.

Now county prosecuting attorney Brigham Anderson is being approached to weigh in on the stalemate between the auditor’s office and the dog warden.

The Speedway gas cards were shut down because the auditor’s office is declining to pay any of a bill that includes charges by the dog warden when he was no longer a county employee.

“This office deems the charge is not a valid and proper public expenditure,” Chief Deputy Auditor Chris Kline wrote to the county commission on April 14.

On Jan. 26, dog warden Click retired from his job at the animal shelter. However on March 6 he used a county gas card to purchase $22.04 worth of gasoline for a county vehicle; there was also a second charge on the county card. Click was rehired on April 11.

“I knew I was coming back,” Click said. “I didn’t look at myself as an ex-employee. I used my card. I was going back and forth doing payroll or euthanasia. I put the gas in a county truck and was on county business.”

Later, Click paid the Speedway bill from his own money. Because of that, Click and the commissioners are asking Kline to pay the remainder of the bill that includes charges by other workers at the pound. Until that is done, the gas cards for all shelter employees are frozen.

“Mr. Click should not have had access to the county vehicle or gas card once he terminated employment,” Kline wrote. “It appears at first look he was using the county vehicle and gas for personal use. In using the county gas card, the federal gas taxes were not paid. His paying off the questioned invoices doesn’t get around that fact. An EMS employee was terminated for using a county gas card for personal use.”

According to Kline, Click told him he was using a county vehicle because he was the only one licensed to perform euthanasia, which he was doing on a volunteer basis.

“This is in direct violation of OPERS rules,” Kline’s letter states. “A retiree who has received a retirement allowance for less than two months when re-employment begins will forfeit the retirement allowance for any month of re-employment during that two-month period. This forfeiture applies even if the retiree waives salary for the two-month period.”

Kline contends that if he pays all the charges on the bill except Click’s, it would appear that he is condoning the dog warden’s use of the card during the period he was not on the payroll.

“That opens the auditor’s office up to audit findings due to strict liability constructions deemed by the Auditor of State’s office.”

Now Click says he is paying for the gas for his employees’ vehicles

“I shouldn’t have to pay them,” he said. “I am not trying to get my money back. We are trying to do our jobs. I shouldn’t have to fund the operation. For Chris not to pay the bill is ludicrous. There is nothing shady going on. I drove (the county truck) when I was off, but it was on county business.”