A 2007 audit of Genoa Township finances included one finding for recovery.

A 2007 audit of Genoa Township finances included one finding for recovery.

The township asked the Ohio Auditor's Office to perform a "clean slate" audit of 2007, prior to fiscal officer Patrick Myers and fiscal officer assistant Donna Batten taking office last April.

The audit said an unauthorized bonus of $666 was paid in December to then-fiscal officer assistant Pamela Wolfe by then-fiscal officer Darrel Kem. The bonus was not approved by the board of trustees, the audit noted.

The finding was issued against Wolfe, the audit said, with Kem "secondarily liable" if restitution is not obtained from Wolfe.

Kem has been serving with the Air Force in Iraq. ThisWeek reached him during a leave last week, when he defended himself in response to the audit findings. He said he became fiscal officer on March 1, 2007.

"(The findings) were not unexpected. There was no one in Genoa Township to help me transition in. I was handed keys and a password and told we need payroll out next week," he said.

Kem said he was upset at how the township is handling the situation.

"It's shameful. They waited until I was gone. They knew I was deployed (overseas) because they knew I wouldn't be here to defend myself," he said.

Kem said he had every right to give Wolfe her bonus.

"(The bonus) was not within (the trustees') scope to approve because they had already approved my budget. Once that was done, there was nothing left for them to approve since the money was in my budget for payroll purposes," he said.

The trustees approved the prior month's expenditures at the beginning of each month, he said.

"That means in January, most likely, they would have approved all the expenditures in December, which would have included the bonus," he added.

"All employees of Genoa Township get some sort of a bonus at Christmas time. She had no ability to get one because she didn't work for the trustees. She worked for me," he said.

ThisWeek was unable to find an address or telephone number for Wolfe.

In a press release, township administrator Paul Wise said the township trustees agreed to get the audit while Kem was still in office.

Wise also wrote the township pays no annual bonuses. The only additional pay stipend is a credit that rewards employees for years of service, he wrote. Wolfe, he added, had been on the job only eight months.

Trustee David Engleson said the township has a bond in place for the fiscal office. The bond is issued by the township's insurance company -- Rinehart, Walters, Danner & Associates. The township will be reimbursed by the insurance company, which will seek the $666 from Wolfe or Kem.

Trustee Barbara Lewis said the bond is in place to protect taxpayers from having to fund such problems.

The audit also noted a township fiscal officer must attach to any contract or order for expenditure certification that the expenditure is appropriate and the funds are in the treasury, or are being credited to the appropriate fund.

Such certification was missing from 23 percent of the transactions tested, the audit said.

The audit also said several receipts for bank interest were not posted in a timely manner.

Additionally, the audit identified nine posting errors and three unadjusted differences.

The audit includes several "officials' response" entries. Each notes that current fiscal officer Patrick Myers and fiscal assistant Donna Batten were not working for the township at that time.

Myers said the problems described in the audit have been solved.

He also said internal reviews have found problems in the first three months of 2008, before Myers and Batten took office.

These will come out in the next audit, according to township officials.

They include penalties for filing taxes late with the Internal Revenue Service and making late payments to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Myers said.

"I think the findings were disappointing. However, things happen. People make mistakes and make decisions that aren't quite right. I'm just glad we found them and are able to correct them," Myers said.

Lewis echoed a similar statement.

"I'm very pleased that we got it and our current fiscal officer and fiscal assistant have made the necessary corrections and so we can rest assured everything is being handled properly now," she said.