Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Problems in Audit Remain Unresolved

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Problems in Audit Remain Unresolved

Article excerpt

A spokesman for State Auditor Margaret Kelly says that Velda Village Hills did not correct problems noted in an audit in 1986 and many of the same problems were reported in an audit completed last year.

The spokesman, Frank Ybarra, said in an interview that the Board of Trustees of Velda Village Hills "failed to implement our prior recommendations."

Ybarra said the trustees had been told that they must "immediately establish stronger controls or there would continue to be the potential for fraud, missing funds and misappropriation."

"Because the village is small does not excuse poor management," Ybarra said. "We made those recommendations specifically for this village. There's no reason they can't follow every one of them."

Earlene Luster, who became board chairman in 1992, said in an interview that in the past eight months the village had implemented most of the auditors' recommendations from last year's audit.

Ybarra said both audits had "revealed some serious problems which needed immediate attention."

Problems mentioned by Ybarra are:

The treasurer's report was not always accurate.

The village did not solicit competitive bids.

The village collected a tax for law-enforcement training but had not had a police department since 1990.

Documentation was missing for expenses totaling $3,287.

More than 70 ordinances passed by the board were missing from village files.

The person responsible for inspecting buildings was also collecting the inspection fees.

Large sums were in bank accounts that did not pay interest.

The issue of seeking competitive bids caused an uproar at the trustees' recent meeting.

Before the meeting, two trustees, Alford Catching and Roy Wade, hand-delivered to each of the village's 468 households copies of a letter in which they accused Luster of wasting money by agreeing to pay Northwoods $100 an hour for removing snow and $136 an hour for salting the streets.

"The village bought over $40,000 worth of snow removal equipment in 1991," wrote Wade and Catching. …

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