Late fees result in finding against Franklin Township official

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The Franklin Township audit contained a finding for recovery of $7,203 against Franklin Township Fiscal Officer Lisa Morris.

The audit, released Tuesday, revealed that the township paid a total of $6,300 in late penalties and interest from the Franklin Township General Fund in 2015 and 2016, due to late payments of the employer share due the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund. Franklin Township also paid $903 from the Police Levy Fund, because of a claim made by a township employee during a lapse in workers compensation coverage between Sept. 2 and Nov. 1, 2015, the state auditor’s office said.

Franklin Township Trustee Chairman John Fleshman said he was the one who filed an affidavit to the state auditor, after learning the township’s phone systems had been shut off due to lack of payment. After looking into other payments, he noticed additional late fees.

“Even one late bill is too many when you’re using taxpayer dollars,” Fleshman said. “It can’t be acceptable when there’s money in the account.”

The finding for recovery, due to misspending of public funds, was issued against Morris and her bonding company, Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, per the audit.

Morris said she wasn’t aware of the legal responsibilities falling on fiscal officers in 2015 and 2016.

“The trustees would not provide me with help,” Morris said. “They would not allow me to hire someone. I’m only one person.”

The new board, appointed in 2018, has been helpful, Morris said. The township now has an assistant fiscal officer.

Issues with late penalties have since “mostly been resolved,” Fleshman said. The matter has been turned over to the state attorney general’s office for further review, he added.

“We as a board have worked together to make sure things like this are caught and we are not wasting taxpayer dollars,” Fleshman said.

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