Late payments, alcohol purchases cost Wellsville nearly $20,000

The penalties stemmed from former Fiscal Officers Donna Rudder and Cassandra Bloor

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) – Two former Village of Wellsville fiscal officers racked up $19,176 in penalties and interest by failing to make payments on time during 2014 and 2015.

An audit of the cash-strapped Columbiana County village released Thursday by Auditor of State Dave Yost also discovered a $109 reimbursement to former Mayor Susan Haugh for alcohol purchases.

“You don’t pile on more weight when the ship is already taking on water,” Auditor Yost said. “The village has to eliminate all wasteful spending if it hopes to stay afloat in its treacherous financial waters.”

Auditors determined that former Fiscal Officers Donna Rudder and Cassandra Bloor did not always submit employee tax and pension withholdings on time to the IRS, Ohio Public Employee Retirement System and Ohio Police and Fire Retirement System.

As a result, the village was assessed and paid $9,067 in penalties and interest during Rudder’s tenure as fiscal officer, in addition to $10,000 while Bloor held the position. Auditors issued findings for recovery against the individuals in the respective amounts.

An additional finding for recovery was issued against former Mayor Susan Haugh after auditors learned the village reimbursed her $109 for alcohol purchases made during a 2014 employee Christmas dinner at Abdalla’s Steak House. Bloor is jointly and severally liable for the finding because she signed the warrant resulting in the improper payment.

Auditor Yost placed the village in a state of fiscal emergency for its third time on November 15, 2016 — the most for any local government since the designation was created in 1979. The declaration was made after the Auditor’s Local Government Services Section (LGS) identified deficit fund balances totaling $93,021 and $28,710 as of Dec. 31, 2015, and May 31, 2016, respectively.

A full copy of this report is available here.