Thursday, October 14, 2004

State audit faults Morrow

By Erica Solvig
Enquirer staff writer

MORROW - A state audit released this week takes this Warren County village to task for poor bookkeeping that led it to spend more money than amounts approved for certain funds.

Auditors looking at financial records from 2002 and 2003 listed nine concerns that range from general noncompliance to more serious problems like not keeping accurate records. The documents were made public Tuesday.

Instead of waiting the typical two years before conducting another audit, officials in this village of 1,370 people are requesting another audit at the end of this year, said Courtney Whetstone, spokeswoman with Ohio Auditor Betty Montgomery's office.

"It obviously wasn't a clean audit," Whetstone said. "There are many issues that need to be addressed."

Mayor Bob Brown and Solicitor Don Oda said Wednesday that they had not seen the audit.

But Brown said the village clerk's office was criticized in the past because of bookkeeping. A new clerk/treasurer, Tina Browning, who was elected last fall, has been making changes since taking over the office that was formerly held by Jean Mayne.According to the audit, "the village did not maintain an accurate record of all moneys received." During the two years, there were $21,983 in checks that cleared the bank but were voided in the village's accounting system.

There also were a couple of instances where invoices were overpaid, and non-payroll expenditures were not properly classified. Plus, auditors stated they could not find proper supporting documents, as required by law.

The audit also reports that the clerk got pay increases in 2002 and 2003, even though village council didn't approve them with an ordinance. That has since been corrected, Oda said.

"The village is taking all steps to rectify any bookkeeping problems," he said. "That's the purpose of the audit: to bring to the village's attention those matters of irregularity so that they can be corrected."


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