State Auditor Issues Findings Against Blanchester

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The Village of Blanchester’s failure to maintain receipts for more than $7,000 in credit card purchases yielded audit citations from the state for the second audit in a row.

The audit of the Clinton County village of 4,256 people also uncovered $280 in prohibited credit card purchases. A report released today names Assistant Utilities Director Jim Myers responsible for the unsupported and improper spending, which occurred in 2015 and 2016.

“Blanchester officials have again demonstrated an inability to use credit cards responsibly,” Auditor Dave Yost said. “It’s time to take the necessary steps to prevent wasteful spending and ensure a complete record of every transaction.”

The audit flagged 51 purchases totaling $7,467 that lacked receipts to prove they served a proper public purpose. Through other means, auditors determined that $7,023 of the spending was allowable, but they could not validate the remaining $444.

Another two purchases totaling $280 were supported by receipts, but they did not meet the standards of a proper public purpose. The spending consisted of $255 in clothing purchases at Field & Stream and a $25 membership fee for the Oceanaire Seafood Room in Washington, D.C.

Blanchester’s board of public affairs, which oversaw the spending, did not have a credit card policy in place at the time of the purchases. The board approved a policy on Feb. 23, 2017.

Auditors issued a $724 finding for recovery against Myers because he approved the credit card invoices and submitted them for payment. He repaid the village on May 21, 2018.

The village’s previous audit, released in March 2017, ordered Myers to repay another $3,411 for problematic credit card purchases made in 2013 and 2014. He repaid that amount in January 2017. The previous audit also cited the village for using the Electric Fund instead of the Water and Sewer funds to pay the salaries of utility employees. Because the village has yet to end the practice, the Water and Sewer funds owe $673,346 to the Electric Fund as of the end of 2016.

A special report released by the Auditor of State’s office in July 2017 highlights the risks local governments face when they fail to institute and enforce basic credit card policies. Since 2011, more than $1.2 million has been stolen or misspent at Ohio governments through credit card abuse.

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