Columbus - The former finance director of the City of Vermilion owes the city $10,755 in money illegally paid to her according to the audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“It is a fundamental duty of public officials to safeguard taxpayer dollars, whether they involve payments to themselves or to others,” Auditor Yost said. “Proper controls must be in place to prevent situations like this.”
The former financial director of the City of Vermilion, Michelle Bowens, was appointed on July 7, 2008. On July 18, Bowens received a direct deposit sum of $1,081, and on that same day, she cashed a live check from the city’s Public Fund Account for the same amount. This double payment has not been repaid, and Bowens was issued a finding for recovery in the amount of $1,081.
Bowens’ appointment as finance director expired on December 31, 2009. On December 30, a check written to Bowens cleared in the amount of $11,237. According to city payroll records, the payment was mostly compensation for sick and personal leave balances of 275 and 21 hours, respectively, for a total amount of $9,674. The City of Vermilion Codified Ordinance Section 252.03 states that “…all employees of the City of Vermilion shall receive payment based on the employee’s rate of pay at retirement for one-half of the employee’s accrued but unused sick leave, up to a maximum of ninety days.” Bowens’ separation of employment was not due to retirement. Therefore, she was issued a finding for recovery in the amount of $9,674.
A full copy of this audit is available online.
The Auditor of State is one of five independently elected offices under
the Ohio Constitution. Auditor Yost’s office is responsible for auditing
over 5,600 state and local government agencies. Staff also works in
partnership with state and local governments to deal effectively with
financial, accounting and budgetary issues.