Auditor of State finds for recovery for $12,447

By D. Anthony Botkin -

The Auditor of State’s Office released Liberty Township’s financial audit Monday with a finding of recovery for $12,447 in overpaid health insurance opt-out payments.

The auditor’s office determined the township’s opt-out health insurance program was in conflict with Ohio Law.

From 2014 through 2016 three township employees received opt-out overpayments, Trustee Tom Mitchell of $10,813, Richard Spellman of $1,127 and David Patterson of $507. All three non-union employees were paid at the rate of 50 percent of the insurance coverage premium.

According to the auditor’s report, township employees with insurance coverage from another source were permitted to receive a reimbursement amount of 50 percent of the township’s insurance premium.

The Ohio Revised Code limits the payments to 25 percent of the premium with the exception of certain union employees.

According to the auditor’s report, Mark Gerber, the former fiscal officer and Nancy Denutte, the current fiscal officer, are both being held “severely liable for $10,545 and $1,902, respectively, in the event that the employees do not repay the township.”

The auditor’s office limited the findings for recovery to the current audit period, absent a finding of fraud, waste or abuse.

Denutte discovered the problem with the township’s program last year. She told trustees the opt-out program violated state law in a July 2106 trustee meeting.

In an effort to comply with Ohio Law, changes to the township’s opt-out program were made August 9 in a special meeting of the trustees.

Trustees approved a resolution changing the opt-out insurance program. Instead of offering employees 50 percent of the township’s premium, the new resolution reduces that amount to 25 percent of the premium.

The resolution allows the program to be governed under a Ohio Revised Code statute that allows a reimbursement of 25 percent of the insurance premium to employees.

By D. Anthony Botkin

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.