Thursday, Feb 22, 2018
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Politics

Maumee council votes to halt its own audit of court thefts

Maumee City Council voted unanimously Monday night to halt an audit of the city’s municipal court following theft by a former employee.

Mayor Rich Carr said a separate audit conducted by the court was completed and given to city officials. Mayor Carr was satisfied with the findings — which were revealed late last month — and didn’t see a reason to continue the city’s own review.

“The original contract between the court and private auditor had a provision saying it was for the court only, and they would not provide it to the city,” Mayor Carr said. “By the time the audit came in, the election had passed, and we did get the full audit report. Once we got that, it pretty well defined what the issues were, what created them, and what can be done to prevent them.”

The audit found a lack of oversight in the court and listed 22 recommendations, including immediate restrictive endorsing of checks and a policy requiring supporting documents be submitted to the accounts payable department before checks are prepared.

“It's very frustrating because we had taken the position before that there was not adequate controls in the court system,” Mayor Carr said. “The employee had sole access to all the financials; nobody else was even looking at it. We're having the city work with the court and the new judge to implement the changes.”

Jane Monroe, 55, was indicted on seven felonies in October and admitted last month to stealing more than $30,000 from the court. Prosecutors said she wrote six checks to herself between Aug. 11 and Sept. 20 of 2017 and also stole cash.

Monroe's sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 16. She faces up to six years in prison and is required to pay $31,125 in restitution.

The city launched its audit of the court last fall through the Ohio state auditor's office. The cost was $50 an hour, and all findings would have been public record.

The court hired Maumee-based accounting firm Gilmore Jasion Mahler to conduct a separate audit for $245 per hour, much to the dismay of Mayor Carr and several other city officials. Former Judge Gary Byers often held the belief the court was not subject to public records, and Mayor Carr had concerns about transparency. 

Former City Councilman Dan Hazard defeated Judge Byers in the November election.

It was originally thought Maumee’s insurance would cover the $12,000 cost of the court’s audit, but Mayor Carr has since learned that won’t be the case. He also said he doesn’t believe the state auditor will bill the city. 

Contact Jay Skebba at jskebba@theblade.com, 419-376-9414, or on Twitter @JaySkebbaBlade.

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