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Trustees: Missing $1M an accounting issue

German Twp. officials said Tuesday they believe a $1 million discrepancy in the township’s books was the result of accounting errors and not theft.

After months reconciling the township’s bank statements and books with help from the Ohio Auditor’s Local Government Services, officials have narrowed the discrepancies down to about $25, township Fiscal Officer Angela Griest said.

However, a couple of canceled checks could up that amount to $2,000 or so, Griest said at a trustees’ meeting on Tuesday.

Because of those remaining discrepancies, she has sent documents back to Local Government Services for further assistance.

Local Government Services is a section of the auditor’s office that helps local governments deal with financial, accounting and budgetary issues.

How the discrepancies occurred in the first place might never be known.

“There was just a lot of accounting errors that were either not done correctly (or) not done at all. I don’t know why they were not done correctly or why they were not on the system,” she said.

Former Fiscal Officer Peggy Hupp, who retired at the end of 2012, has said that she had trouble getting numbers into the correct place due to a stroke she suffered at the end of 2011.

“The thing is the auditors came in here and the previous clerk was told to make adjustments and didn’t do it,” German Twp. Trustee President Charles Metzger said, who several times called the situation embarrassing.

Hupp was re-elected at the end of 2011 after a narrow race against Griest. Then Griest was appointed to the position Jan. 1 after Hupp’s retirement.

Griest hoped to have the books completely reconciled before the meeting Tuesday, but said that it will likely be completed within the next several weeks.

“Once I hear back from (Local Government Services), we’ll have to make a decision on what to do about those,” she said.

The township was expected to pay $50 per hour for the assistance from Local Government Services. Trustees initially agreed to spend $5,000 for those services, but haven’t reached that amount yet, Metzger said.

A final report will be released once the books are reconciled, he said.

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