Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

June 20, 2013

State releases AC audit

By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
The Daily Iowegian

---- — The auditor for the state of Iowa released a report for Appanoose County that points out excessive travel payments were made and questionable employment occurred for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. The report was release June 10.

The audit found Appanoose County’s Central Point Coordinator for a 12 month period claimed 4,683 travel miles for reimbursement he was not entitled to.

From June 2011 to May 2012 Appanoose County CPC Steve Kerber claimed 28,742 travel miles for reimbursement for 130 trips. The auditor recalculated the trips by using Mapquest and found the actual mileage was 24,059. The county reimburses at the rate of .45 per mile, which means Kerber was given $2,107.35 more than he was entitled to.

The auditor’s recommendation for the county was to develop a formal travel policy “to specifically address reimbursements and required documentation. The County should request additional support for the mileage claimed or seek reimbursement of the calculated improper excess reimbursements.”

The auditor recommended Appanoose County consult legal counsel to dispose of this issue.

The county’s response was they will work on a travel policy and contact Appanoose County attorney Richard Scott for legal counsel.

The auditor accepted that response.

Linda Demry, Appanoose County auditor, said Kerber quit his job in October of 2012. She said the reason he gave was he found another job.

Kerber at the time of departure was paid $44,257 per year.

The state auditor questioned the employment practices used by the Appanoose County Conservation Board. The audit questioned the employment of two of Mark Hoffman’s children: Austin as a conservation aide and Amber as a conservation naturalist.

Mark Hoffman is the conservation director.

The audit report states Austin was paid $12,137 and Amber was paid $16,808 for the year ending June 30, 2012.

The auditor notes conservation board minutes show the family members were hired as part-time help some years ago, but current time-status does not exist.

The state auditor recommended the county consult legal counsel.

The ACCB response was they do all hiring and firing of employees. Employees report to ACCB. They offered to consult legal counsel to dispose of the issue.

Hoffman by telephone Wednesday said the county attorney was informed of the employment issue and said he had no problem with it.

Published Appanoose County payroll records show from two to three of his children have received wages dating back to the year 2009.

The financial portion of the audit states Appanoose County had local tax revenue of $14,253,865 for the fiscal year, which included $641,439 in state tax credits. More than $10 million of the local tax revenue was forwarded to the townships, school districts, cities and other taxing bodies in the county.

More than $4.2 million of the local tax revenue was retained to finance county operations, an increase of 5.8 percent from the prior year.

Appanoose County operation expenses totaled $9,965,775, a 3.4 increase from the prior year. Expenses included $3,858,504 for roads and transportation, $1,893,185 for public safety and legal services and $1,217,274 for mental health.