EATON —A former employee of the Preble County District Library must pay over $36,000 in penalties and late fees which racked up while she was the fiscal officer.
Former fiscal officer Terry Wysong failed to pay withheld income taxes and pension contributions, resulting in $36,407 in fees and penalties, according to an audit released Tuesday, Aug. 9, by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
Yost’s office released the regular financial audit of Preble County District Library for year’s 2013 and 2014 on Tuesday. The audit found multiple instances of material weakness and noncompliance, which the library’s Board of Trustees says it has worked to correct in the past year.
In a statement issued earlier this week, PCDL officials said “Wysong failed to complete monthly cash reconciliations and submit required annual financial reports. This led Auditor Yost’s office to dub the library’s fiscal records ‘unauditable’ in August 2015.”
According to Yost’s office, “from January 2013 through December 2014, former fiscal officer Terri Wysong withheld the required federal income tax, Medicare, state income tax, local income tax, school district income tax and Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) contributions from the earnings of each library employee. However, Wysong failed to submit the funds to the appropriate entity, agency or system – a ‘gross neglect of duty amounting to reckless disregard for the library.’”
As a result, the library was charged penalties, late fees and interest during the audit period, including: to the Federal Government, $22,780; to the State of Ohio, $2,324; to OPERS:, $6,677 and to the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA,) $4,626.
“No one should be at the helm of a government’s finances without proper training,” Auditor Yost said. “Taxpayers were unfairly put on the hook for more than $30,000 because this fiscal officer didn’t have the know-how to carry out her duties responsibly.”
A $36,407 finding for recovery was issued against Wysong.
Library officials noted, “With the help of a consultant from the library’s former supplier of accounting software (CMI) and a traveling clerk on behalf of the State Auditor’s Uniform Accounting Network (UAN), the library completed the required reconciliations and reports to allow for an audit.
“The audit revealed more problems with the fiscal office, including a failure during that time to pay the IRS, OPERS, and other agencies funds withheld from employees’ wages. Considering these findings, the library’s Board voted against renewing Wysong’s contract in January 2016.
“The neglect of payment to the IRS, OPERS, and other agencies led to several financial penalties from those agencies. The Auditor’s report found Wysong liable for the $36,407 in late fees assessed during her time as Fiscal Officer of Preble County District Library,” the PCDL statement explained.
“This audit has made our board more alert in our roles as managers of public funds,” said library Board President Anne Grim. “We’ve since hired a new fiscal officer and are vigilant in our compliance with all aspects of the Ohio Revised Code, especially those directing the handling of public money.
“With a new fiscal officer and better oversight from the board, we’ll move forward. Ultimately, this audit will make us a stronger organization as we continue to provide quality library services to the residents of Preble County.”
The full auditor’s report is available www.ohioauditor.gov.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.