Columbus – Butler Township (Montgomery County) trustees and the fiscal officer owe $21,776 for having taxpayers pick up the tab for their share of the state pension fund, as issued in a 2009-2010 audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“Fiscal officers and trustees are expected to know and follow the laws that apply to them,” Yost said. “Ohio law prohibits townships from paying the so-called ‘pick-up’ for these employees.”
Upon being notified in June that the township’s financial audit would identify the payments as an illegal public expenditure, township trustees in July adopted a resolution to deduct the illegal pension fund payments from paychecks over the course of 12 months.
Trustee Doug Orange was found to owe the township $4,983 for payments during 2009 to 2011, and trustees Michael Lang and Martin Russell were each found to owe $2,927 for payments in 2010 and 2011. Former trustees Joseph Ellis and Eleanor Lewis were each found to owe $2,056 for payments in 2009.
Fiscal Officer Mark Adams was found to owe $6,827 for payments during 2009 to 2011.
Under Ohio law applicable to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, 24 percent of payroll is paid into OPERS. The employer share of this amount is 14 percent, while the member or employee share is 10 percent. Township employees may be eligible for so called “pick up,” in which the employer pays all or a portion of the employee share of the required pension contribution, but the fiscal officer and elected officials are not eligible.
A full copy of this audit may be found online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.