Files from Young’s audit turned over to DA

WALSTON — The investigation into the alleged misappropriation of funds in Young Township has been turned over to Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett to investigate.

During the Board of Supervisors’ meeting Wednesday, Chairman Andrew Meterko said there was nothing new to report regarding the audit, except that all the findings and the audit from the Cantanese Group has been given to Burkett’s office.

At the supervisors’ May 9 meeting, Carl Vulcan, CPA and forensic accountant of the Cantanese Group, planned to report his audit findings when township solicitor Kipp Lukehart advised the supervisors to enter into executive session before making any of the findings public.

The Cantanese Group was hired to investigate discrepancies in not only the sewage account, but also payroll and cash.

Also, Wednesday, Ron Canton — who said he was speaking as an elected auditor and a township citizen — discussed many of the issues brought up because of the audit.

Canton said when the auditors ask questions, it’s because it is their duty.

“We receive derogatory remarks, and we’re only doing our jobs we are elected for,” he said.

Canton said at the conclusion of the forensic audit, there were checks and balances suggested by the Cantanese Group.

“Are the township supervisors following these suggestions?” he asked, also saying that it was noted in the report that the supervisors are the checks and balances, and that township Secretary Mary Ann Redding cannot do this all by herself.

These suggestions apply to both regular township business and the sewage department, Canton said, and that supervisors must open and review bank statements.

“The sewer fund should have been reviewed by someone other than the secretary,” he said.

Meterko said supervisors are now reviewing the bank statements and the sewer accounts.

Canton said all checks should be signed by all three supervisors before they can be cashed. But Meterko said that wouldn’t work, especially if one of the supervisors is out of town or unavailable due to illness.

“That’s why it only requires two supervisors to sign a check,” he said.
Canton said there were some irregularities in payroll, and these must be reviewed more carefully by the supervisors. He also said the township burn permits should be pre-numbered, and renewal forms should be sent out. But Supervisor Pete Betts said they aren’t going to mail burn permits, which cost only $5.

“If they can’t come to the office to get their burn permit renewed, that’s their problem,” Meterko said.

Former board Chairman Mike Defelice said state law requires that only two supervisors and the secretary sign any checks.

“There’s no elected board that does that, not even the county commissioners do that,” Defelice said. “Every time a secretary leaves, and a new one comes, there should be a checks and balance system.”

He also said said the person who audits the sewer accounts should explain to the supervisors why there are so many irregularities in that account.

Canton also said the supervisors need to check the usage of township cell phones and the amount of minutes and if it is being used for business.

He said he understands the supervisors need them on the job, but he believes much of the use comes after hours.

Supervisor Joe Powell said they are on call 24 hours day, seven days a week, which is why they need the phones and use them after hours.

Meterko said the township plan has unlimited minutes, and the bill is the same, whether one uses 10 minutes or 4,000 minutes.

“I don’t care if someone talks to his wife on a township cell phone. We have unlimited minutes,” he said.

Prior to leaving the meeting, Canton said the phones should be used for only business.

In other business:
• Julie Branken, owner of Plantation Bed & Breakfast, requested to construct windmills on her property. She was directed to contact Lukehart.

• Meterko said paving on Cunningham and Ellermeyer roads will take place this week, and oil and chipping will take place within the next two weeks.

• The treasurer’s report and the minutes of the June 13 meeting were deferred due to the illness of Redding.

A motion to pay all the bills and payroll was approved.

The next supervisors meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 8 at the township building.