Last update on March 28, 2017
STATE AUDIT FOR AUBURN TOWNSHIP IS RELEASED AUGUST 8, 2014: NEW FISCAL OFFICER . . . SAME OLD PROBLEMS
Published August 11, 2014
For the second year in a row Auburn Township's state audit revealed material weaknesses because disbursements during the year ended December 31, 2013, disbursements and encumbrances exceeded appropriations.
As noted on page 6 of “Notes fo the Financial Statements for the Year Ended December 31, 2012, Section 1. Appropriations states, “Budgetary expenditures( that is, disbursements and encumbrances) may not exceed appropriations at the fund, department, and object level of control, and appropriations may not exceed estimated resources.”
The 2012 annual audit under former Fiscal Officer Susan Plavcan elicited several pages of notes from the auditing entity known as Julian and Grube on April 18, 2013: . “As described in Note 1 of the financial statements, Auburn Township prepared these financial statements using the accounting basis permitted by the financial reporting provisions of Ohio Revised Code Section 117.38 and Ohio Administrative Code Section 117-2-03, which is an accounting basis other than accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, to satisfy requirements.. . .The effects on the financial statements of the variances between the regulatory basis of accounting described in Note 1 and accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, although not reasonably determinable, are presumed to be material.”
“ In our opinion, because of the significance of the matter discussed in the Basis for Adverse Opinion on U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles paragraph, the financial statements referred to above do not present fairly, in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United states of America, the financial position of Auburn Township as of December 31, 2012, or changes in financial position thereof for the year then ended.”
“In accordance with Government Accounting Standards, we have also issued our report dated April 18, 2013, on our consideration of Auburn Township's internal control over financial reporting and our tests of its compliance with certain provisions of laws, regulations, contracts, and grant agreements and other matters. “
Further, in the letter of May 21, 2013, State Auditor Dave Yost notes that according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), “auditors ...formally acknowledge that you [Fiscal Officer Susan Plavcan] did not prepare your financial statements in accordance with GAAP [ Generally Accepted Accounting Principles}.”
The results released August 8, 2014, from Julian and Grube for the year ended December 31, 2013, under new Fiscal Officer Fred May, report material weaknesses known as the following: 2013-AT-001 and 2013-AT-002, as well as failure to correct material weakness 2012-AT-001, attributed to former Fiscal Officer Susan Plavcan.
Finding 2013-AT-001 at page 29 indicates that Julian and Grube were required to make adjustments”to correct misstatements identified in the audit of the the Township's financial statements”
i Increase road and bridge intergovernmental receipts in the amount of $71,855 to properly record homestead and rollback receipts.
ii Increase special fire levy intergovernmental receipts in the amount of $55,496 to properly record homestead and rollback receipts.
iii Decrease general fund property tax receipts in the amount of $127,451 to properly record homestead and rollback receipts. “
This explanation appears to demonstrate a deviation of $127,000+, providing a substantial motivation for a wrecked budget.
In conclusion, Julian and Grube state. “The present system lacks fiscal oversight and approvals and faild to meet the above expectations [of well-informed business decisions}. We recommend the Township consult with their auditors, the Township Handbook [latest edition March, 2014 ]. Auditor of State and/or Ohio Municipal League to ensure accurate financial reporting.” [Emphasis added]
Finding 2013-AT-002 begins with an explanation:
“Ohio Revised Code Section 5705. 41(D) requires that no orders or contracts involving the disbursement of monies are to be made unless [Emphasis added] there is certificate of the fiscal officer that the amount required for the order or contract has been lawfully appropriated and is in the treasure or in the process of collection to the credit of an appropriate fund free from any previous encumbrances.”
“The Township had 15% of disbursements tested with an invoice that was dated prior to the purchase order, thus causing those disbursements not to be certified in a timely manner.
“Without proper certification the Township may expend more funds than available in the treasury or in the process of collection, or than funds appropriated. It may also result in unnecessary or undesirable purchases.
“We recommend that all orders or contracts involving the disbursement of money be timely certified to ensure all monies expended are lawfully appropriated and available in the treasury or in the process of collection. The Township should consider using “Then” and “Now” certificated where applicable.”
In regard to Prior Audit Findings, 2012-AT-001 noted that “The Township had 24% of disbursements that were invoiced prior to the purchase order date. “
In conclusion, a comparison of State Audits completed on Auburn Township for the years ended December 31, 2012, and December 31, 2013, reflects the sloppiness and lack of internal control of the Township Fiscal Officer, whether it be Susan Plavcan or Fred May, over spending practices of the Auburn Township Trustees.
How much should taxpayers believe stories that Auburn Township is in the process of running out of funding for roads and bridges, thereby necessitating a questionable process of declaring a Motion of Necessity during July 2014 for the purpose of imposing an additional 2-mills upon Auburn Township taxpayers?
Wake up, taxpayers! Responsible Township spending results from responsible Township audit practices. It's just money. Should it be washing down the drain like the gravel in a driveway during a torrential rain?
HOLY SMOKE, BATMAN!
AUBURN TOWNSHIP GETS A FAILING GRADE --- THE WORST 2-YEAR STATE AUDIT REPORT IN GEAUGA COUNTY!
July 25, 2012
On July 19, 2012, State Auditor David Yost released the results of the state audits for 2010 and 2011 for Auburn Township. During that two year period, the last reporting period for the township, Auburn Township was chastised for ELEVEN (11) findings of fact. This makes Auburn Township the governmental entity in Geauga County with the greatest number of violations.
Most recent 2 year audit period
|Village of Aquilla||2009-10||2|
|Village of Middlefield||2009-10||2|
|City of Chardon||2010||1|
|Village of Burton||2009-10||0|
|Village of Russell||2008-09||0|
Twelve of the reporting entities in Geauga County received NO findings of fact in their latest two-year state audits. If we were to assign letter grades to all of the governmental entities in their state audits, we would assign 12 A's, 2 B's, 4C's, and 1 F
Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost
www.auditor.state.oh.us under “Search Audits”
2010 and 2011 Auburn Township audits were released
on July 19 by the Ohio State Auditor and are available here.
Auburn Township 2011 Audit This is the audit referenced on the Fiscal Officers page
Auburn Township 2010 Audit
UPDATE FROM STATE AUDITOR YOST ABOUT FRAUD REPORTING
April 20, 2012
Ohio Auditor Dave Yost has now authorized A.U.D.I.T.S (Auditor's Uniform Deceptive Incident Tracking System) to permit alert and vigilant residents and local government employees to report evidence of fraud and deceptive practices being undertaken by local government entities. This process is available to any concerned individual through the following clickable link:
This reporting format creates a non-threatening way to report abuses of the Open Government Act, the Sunshine Laws, and of Ohio Revised Code as it pertains to the operation of local government and to actions by elected officials.
We hope that you find this information valuable and an incentive to keep Auburn Township on track in its quest for transparency and accountability to the voters.
REPORTING FRAUD ANONYMOUSLY TO THE STATE AUDITOR
As of September 29, 2011, Ohio House Bill 66, would require the Auditor of the State of Ohio to establish a fraud-reporting system for residents and public employees to be able to file anonymous complaints of fraud and misuse of public funds by public offices and/or officials. Such legislation would enable the State Auditor to investigate improper behavior by public officials without causing well-intentioned informants fear of reprisal from dishonest officials still in office.
As of this writing, the bill passed the Ohio House of Representatives on March 22, 2011. It is currently in the Ohio Senate Sate and Local Governmental Committee and Veterans Affairs.