Monday, March 12, 2007

Report From Auditor Mary Taylor

Audits of public money keep tabs on whether it is spent properly

March 9, 2007

By Mary Taylor

Let me share with you the basic mission of this office. The Ohio auditor is authorized by Ohio law to audit all state agencies, public institutions, political subdivisions and other organizations that exercise any function of government. Each year we audit more than 3,000 public entities.

In the seven weeks that I have been in office, we have released a total of 517 audits. Twenty-three of those audits showed a total of $1,472,757.50 in state and local public money was improperly or illegally spent. Of that total, an audit of the International Preparatory School in Cuyahoga County found the school treasurer owed $1,407,983 back to the state because of inflated enrollment figures. This same audit released on Feb. 22 also found the school officials could not properly account for another $1,598,515 in federal grants.

Other findings by audits include:
  • In Seneca County, an audit released on Feb. 22 showed that a former clerk for the village of Republic illegally spent $42,521. The clerk paid herself $29,478 for time that she didn't actually work. The audit also showed that she used the village credit card to charge $1,161 worth of personal items.

  • In Clark County, two Springfield Township employees racked up $8,559 in personal phone calls. Phone records show that one of the employees made 24 calls to Japan. The audit was released on March 1.

  • In Hancock County, the clerk/treasurer for the Village of Benton Ridge was crediting her sewer utility account as being paid. The audit released on Feb. 15 found the clerk/treasurer recorded $1,594 in payments that were not paid to the account.

We have referred each and every case involving misspending to the proper authorities so the money can be recovered and the appropriate people will be held accountable. In an effort to stop further misspending, fraud or waste, we are working with the thousands of government or public agencies we audit to ensure the proper internal controls, the necessary checks and balances, are in place and working effectively.

I'm also encouraging Ohioans to get involved in the effort to protect our hard-earned tax dollars. If you know of any evidence of misspending of public funding, we want to hear from you. You can call (866) FRAUD-OH or (866) 372-8364 to report any wrongdoing. By working together, we can and will make a difference for Ohio.

Mary Taylor is the auditor of the state of Ohio.

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