Starke County officials held an open meeting yesterday afternoon, after they had met in executive session, to discuss the findings of the State Board of Accounts 2010 audit of the Treasurer’s office. Council President Mark Smith was designated to be the spokesperson. Mr. Smith explained that the 2010 audit has accounted for all of the $890,956 shortage except for $21,906. dollars.
Even though the 2010 audit discrepancy was reduced to $21,906. as an unexplained variance Smith said the 2009 audit still finds a discrepancy of over $523,000 in the 2009 audit and that amount is still unresolved.
The 2010 audit that showed that the auditor found book-keeping errors that explained the $869,050 discrepancy councilwoman Judy Benninghoff said the errors shouldn’t have been laid at the feet of Treasurer Linda Belork, but should have been the fault of auditor Kay Chaffins. She stated that the problem was that the Auditors Office was carrying an inflated cash balance and that was the Auditors problem not the Treasurers.
County attorney Martin Lucus defended Chaffins and said that what was relevant was the fact that the State Board of Accounts found issues with the Treasurer’s Office not the Auditor’s Office
In the end Smith and Commissioners Dan Bridegroom and Kathy Norem instructed auditor Chaffins to see if she could find the 2009 errors, before a professional forensic accounting firm had to be brought in to do the job.