Audit reveals missing funds
An annual audit report recently completed by Candace Fronk for the city of Culver revealed former city recorder Jeralyn Jones may have made up to $19,000 in unauthorized withdrawals from the city account, in addition to her regular salary.
Fronk revealed the information publicly at the Monday night meeting of the Culver City Council.
The auditor said her audit was in draft form until she could receive further canceled checks from the city's bank to verify withdrawals by Jones.
Fronk said in addition to checks for her salary, Jones may have made anywhere from $9,931 to $14,831 in withdrawals from 2003 up to June 30, 2004. This is in addition to three withdrawals made after June 30, which amounted to $4,245, for a combined possible total of $19,076.
"At June 30, 2004, the city's general fund has recorded $14,831 as due from an employee who resigned after year-end. The matter has been referred to the city's legal counsel and the Oregon Department of Justice. The city expects to collect all amounts paid to the employee in excess of amounts due for services rendered," the audit report said.
Jones resigned as Culver city recorder Nov. 29, after this audit information was presented to city councilors in an executive session and they placed her on administrative leave.
Jones currently is going through court proceedings with the Oregon Department of Justice on charges of misusing the city's credit card and city phone for personal transactions. No new charges had been filed as of press time.
Fronk told the City Council that Jones was a bonded employee and the city's premium was paid and up-to-date, and said "the city will be made whole" for the loss if it is not all paid back.
The audit report stated, "the bookkeeping for the year was not completed in a timely manner and financial information by fund necessary to make critical decisions affecting the operations was not provided to the City Council."
"The city has the responsibility to ensure fiscal oversight. These conditions directly contributed to various fund deficits and unauthorized expenditures," the report continued.
Suggestions by the auditor to prevent future bookkeeping problems included: requiring monthly financial statements for the council, and having a council member review each bank reconciliation to be sure it agrees with the general ledger.
Later in the meeting, City Attorney Paul Sumner proposed that the council switch to a QuickBooks-Pro system, which would be able to print out required statements so councilmembers could better track city spending.
"I strongly encourage we have a system that will provide this," Sumner said.
The council decided to postpone a decision until the Jan. 19, meeting.