County ‘failed to adequately document certain expenditures’; state wants its money

Warren County failed to provide documentation of $160,885 in reimbursable expenses to the state from the county’s Domestic Relations Office.

And the state wants its money.

But Commissioner Ben Kafferlin announced this week that the county was able to provide needed documentation to bring down the amount down to just over $30,000.

Kafferlin said that the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement undertook the audit, which covered the years 2012-2015.

“The fiscal office here at the county failed to adequately document certain expenditures,” Kafferlin explained. “Thankfully, through the effort of the new fiscal director,” Eric Hearn, as well as Judy Kuzminski, the director of Domestic Relations and interim Fiscal Director Paul Pascuzzi, the county was “able to provide documentation that satisfied” the audit regarding the health insurance expenses for Domestic Relations employees.

Kafferlin cautioned that this was not a case of money being misspent but rather the county not being able to “prove” that the expenses were reimbursable “with appropriate documentation.”

In a letter to the Bureau, Kafferlin wrote that “I have to admit that the root cause of the results (of the audit) seem to be poor responsiveness on the part of Warren County. There are legitimate communication issues out our side and we now understand that we could have done much better, and we apologize…. We aim to regain the trust and confidence in our financial records and internal controls.”

He said that the remaining slightly more than $30,000 would be recouped by the state in the form of the state reducing payments to the county for a period of years.

“We know what it was” spent on, Kafferlin said, and maintain that the expenses were reimbursable.

However, he wrote in the letter to the state that some county employees “were not forthcoming with helpful documentation, or, in some cases, completely unresponsive.”

Kafferlin said he was grateful to the director of the state Bureau of Child Support for “allowing us a second chance, probably more like a fourth chance, to get it right.”