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State auditor: Miami Twp. overpaid in salaries

Missing money and the over-payment of township elected officials were called out in a state audit of Miami Twp. in Greene County.

The report, released Tuesday, ordered $11,624 be repaid to the township by the fiscal officer and trustees.

“Watch the cash, watch the law,” Auditor of State Dave Yost said. “If you’re a treasurer or trustee and you don’t do those things, you’re going to owe the taxpayers some money.”

State auditors found $5,849 on the township’s books that aren’t in the township’s bank account. A finding for recovery — a demand for repayment — was issued against Fiscal Officer Margaret Silliman and the township’s bonding agency.

Silliman said that she’s appealing the finding while she tries to figure out the discrepancy.

“That is still under investigation. They (state auditors) don’t know what happened and I don’t know what happened. It’s not that there’s money missing per se,” she said. “There’s got to be a bookkeeping error in there somewhere.”

Auditors also found that trustees and the fiscal officer were overpaid $1,001 and $2,772, respectively, in 2010.

The over-payment happened because Silliman failed to adjust their salaries as the township’s budget rose and fell.

Trustee and fiscal officer salaries are set by law based on whether their budget is more or less than $1.5 million. Above that, trustees are paid $11,318 and the fiscal officer $19,806. Below that, pay is set for $10,288 for trustees and $16,977 for the fiscal officer.

When the township budget rose above $1.5 million in 2008 and 2009, Silliman failed to raise their salaries. She then added back payments in 2010, but failed to lower their pay when the township budget fell that same year.

Silliman said she didn’t catch the initial salary raise because in her decade in the job the township’s budget never got high enough for them to get a raise. So she upped their salaries with the blessing of state auditors without realizing it had already dropped back below the threshold.

“At the direction of the auditors, we overpaid ourselves,” she said.

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