Two state auditors have been fired for failing to catch warning signs that nearly $500,000 had been siphoned from South Amherst accounts.
The announcement came Friday in a press conference held by Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost at the Amherst Public Library.
Auditor William Barile, a 23-year employee of the state office, and his direct supervisor, Donna Busser, the audit manager, were terminated.
“This morning I fired that son of a (expletive),” Yost said of Barile, later adding, “It is unclear whether Mr. Barile acted out of simple negligence or by other motivations.”
Jim Milton, the senior auditor overseeing Busser and Barile’s work, was demoted to audit manager and suspended for five days, Yost said.
The house-cleaning is linked to allegations against former village clerk Kimberly Green, who was indicted May 1 on felony counts of theft, tampering with records, and withholding retirement benefits.
The 53-year-old resigned in April after police began investigating cash missing from the general fund, which pays for day-to-day operations for the village of South Amherst.
Yost said he started asking questions and investigating the alleged thefts in May. Red flags were raised by public documents that were not immediately made available to his office for review.
The last audit completed for the village was for 2012-2013 and the next will be completed next year for fiscal year 2014-2015.
An audit is designed to catch frauds and keep everything in line, Yost said.
“What we discovered is that the nature of the theft was (Green) was writing checks to herself and then in the general ledger was noted the payee as someone other than her,” he said. “She was writing these checks to herself.”
The payee on the checks and the payee in the general fund did not match and should have been a huge red flag, Yost said. “If our auditors (had) seen that they would have taken action.”
“As it turns out, 11 of the checks that she wrote to herself were part of the sample that our audit included,” he said. “The line auditor that was charged with doing this noted in his work papers that he had seen these checks and he had compared them to the books and that they matched.”
Yost said Barile did not do his job and his action is a significant failure of duty.
It is unclear how much was taken from the 11 checks.
According to Yost, Barile said he is diabetic and couldn’t see the checks signed by Green.
“However he did see the papers well enough to check the box claiming that he had done what he was supposed to be doing and he certainly was able to read the predisciplinary letter well enough to take it to a lawyer and show up on time,” Yost said.
Yost said Green’s actions could have been caught by the second quarter of 2014. “An alarm bell should have been going off,” he said in regard to his departmental audit.
“I apologize to the people of this village,” Yost said. “There is no excuse for this failure. We have acted quickly to address the failure and to take the necessary corrective actions within the office.”
Yost is reviewing Barile’s paperwork on other jobs to make sure there were no other mistakes.
“We have undertaken a review of our processes and we’ll probably have some changes made in how supervisors check and confirm the work of the line auditors,” Yost said.
Barile does not face criminal charges at this time but an investigation has been launched.
“This is the most disappointing day of my life in public service,” Yost said. “The betrayal of our duty and our mission is devastating not only to me but to our entire office.”
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-988-2801 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Valerie Urbanik | Amherst News-Times
State auditor Dave Yost talks about firing two auditors and demoting another in connection to nearly $500,000 in funds allegedly stolen by former South Amherst village clerk Kimberly Green. He used harsh words Friday in a press conference at the Amherst Public Library.