Investigation into Creston Water Works shows improper disbursements

News

June 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The State Auditor’s Office today (Friday) released a report on a special investigation of the Creston Water Works. The investigation covers the period from July 1st, 2005 through November 16th, 2012, and was conducted as a result of concerns regarding certain purchases and other financial transactions authorized by the General Manager, Steve Green

The audit identified more than $89,835 worth of improper and unsupported disbursements, which includes slightly more than $49,720 paid to Green, and additional retirement contributions for inspections of 2 projects for which a separate inspector had been hired. It also includes just over $30,300 worth of unauthorized vacation payouts and FICA contributions, and a little more than $2,315 worth of  assets purchased by the Water Works but in Green’s possession. The improper disbursements identified also include almost $1,961 of petty cash reimbursements to Green, for prescription medications and about $1,263 to Green for meals. 

The more than $3,050 worth of unsupported disbursements identified includes petty cash reimbursements to Green and other Water Works employees for meals, travel and conference expenses for which documentation was not sufficient to determine the propriety of the reimbursement.

The Water Works does not allow employees to carry over or payout their vacation balance without Board approval. However, in addition to paying out his vacation balance, Green carried his balance over from year to year. The investigation says as a result, Green’s vacation balance was overstated by 476 hours, which is valued at more than $22,520. 

The report includes recommendations to strengthen the Water Works’ controls and procedures over inventory, payroll and other disbursements, including petty cash. 

Copies of the report have been filed with the Union County Attorney’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the Union County Sheriff’s Office and the Division of Criminal Investigation. A copy of the report is available for review in the Office of Auditor of State and on the Auditor of State’s website  http://auditor.iowa.gov/specials/1223-0848-BE00.pdf