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LIBERTY GOVERNMENT State audit shows overpaid clerk and former trustee repaid salaries

Published: Wed, June 15, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.

A management letter attached to the audit also recommended several changes.
LIBERTY -- A state audit shows that the clerk and a former trustee have paid the township for money they were overpaid in 2002.
The audit for the years 2002 and 2003 was released Tuesday and had a finding for recovery.
The finding stated that because of the misapplication of a new pay scale, both John Fusco, township clerk, and Pat Durina, former trustee, received an overpayment of compensation.
Durina received $5,083 too much and Fusco received $881.25. Both men have reimbursed the township, the audit states.
Pay raises
Fusco has said that a state auditor told him he and trustees were entitled to pay raises because on March 14, 2002, the township's budget increased to $10.3 million. The township had received an unusually large inheritance tax payment.
Salaries of trustees and clerks are based on the size of a township's budget. They become eligible for a wage increase at the $10 million mark.
Fusco said the auditor's office changed its opinion when the 2003 budget dropped to $8.8 million.
The Trumbull County prosecutors also had ruled a change in state law allowed for midterm increases for township officeholders who took office after 2000.
Fusco and Durina, however, weren''t entitled to the increase, the prosecutors ruled, because they can't receive raises in midterm.
Durina and Fusco began serving their four-year terms Jan. 1, 2000.
Recommended changes
A management letter attached to the audit also recommended several changes, including that the minute records of the trustee meetings include all pertinent information, especially resolutions related to the township's budgetary process.
"The minute record of the township board of trustees' meetings did not always contain pertinent information," the management letter states. "For example, the resolutions to authorize the necessary tax rates, approve the amended certificate of estimated resources or adopt the tax budgets were not recorded."
Pat Ungaro, township administrator, said he agrees with the recommendations.
"We will follow what they say," Ungaro said.

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