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Audit requires clerk to repay village

Mechanicsburg says changes already made to improve system.

A state audit released Tuesday revealed numerous errors in Mechanicsburg’s financial records and included a requirement that the previous village clerk repay nearly $500 that was not properly accounted for.

Information in the audit showed the village’s previous clerk was responsible for the petty cash account in the village’s utility department. But between January 2010 and Dec. 31, 2011, the audit showed money from the petty cash fund was used to pay for cash drawer shortages, among other issues.

“Without appropriate documentation, it is not possible to determine if the petty cash expenditures were made for a proper public purpose,” the audit states.

Because Mechanicsburg’s previous clerk, Beth Lewis, was in charge of the village’s finances, she is also responsible for repaying those funds, said Brittany Halpin, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Auditor’s Office.

Village officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but a response included in the audit shows the village will immediately begin a regular audit and record-keeping of the petty cash fund.

The audit found other errors that the village has promised to correct, the state’s report shows.

Among them, the state’s audit showed the village did not properly reconcile its accounting records and bank balances. The village’s response to the state showed Lewis was doing the work incorrectly, and a new clerk has since learned the proper procedure. The new clerk will also work with the village’s fiscal officer to review the balances each month, and then share them with council members for review.

The audit also showed that in 2011, the previous village clerk was not properly calculating, withholding and paying the retirement contribution for several recently hired employees.

Lewis had entered several employees into Mechanicsburg’s payroll system, causing the error, according to the village’s response. Last year, the village conducted what it described as an “exhaustive” search to discover those errors and has since reported back pay to state retirement system, including paying all interest and penalties.

The state also noted the village did not properly track the deposits held for new utility services and noted some deposits were unaccounted for. Village officials responded they began using a new utility software system in August 2012, and they believe it will help track and monitor customer deposits.

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