Audit report in: Starke Auditor finds error totaling hundreds of thousands of $

KNOX — The 2010 Starke County Treasurer's audit has been released by the state. And according to the report, Starke County Auditor Kay Chaffins has been successful in locating hundreds of thousands of dollars that appeared to be missing due to errors in record keeping.
Because of the condition of the treasurer's records, the state had to rely upon the Starke County auditor's funds ledger, unsettled receipts, receipts in transit and an outstanding checklist.
Chaffins was granted access to the county's bank statements and depository information. She was then able to sort through the mess, where she discovered an error in the payroll withholdings. It appears various withholding to the proper authorities had not been posted. Chaffins made the necessary corrections, which totaled $869,050 for 2009 and $614, 672 for 2010, in the county ledger. Once the corrections were made, the variance had been whittled down to $21, 906 which as yet has not been reconciled.
Linda Belork was removed as treasurer Thursday, Aug. 11 based on the findings of the 2009 audit report. The deputies in the treasurer's office were terminated that day as well. In an effort, to keep the office running as smoothly as possible, the county appointed two employees Casey Clark and Michelle Snowdon to maintain the duties of the office until a treasurer could be selected by party caucus.
Belork, who was aware of the state's findings last month, gave a written statement to the state auditors to explain her version of what the problems in her office stemmed from.
Belork said one of her main problems was a rollover in staff. She said in 2010, she had five different people working in the position responsible for doing the daily cash balance sheets. Belork told the state the position is demanding and not easy to fill.
Belork said that not only was 2010 a year of continual change in staff, but also the cash book was being completed by hand. According to Belork, there is an electronic version, which she claims she was unaware of for quite awhile. At the time the audit was conducted, Belork told the state she was aware of the program, had the proper clearance and formulas to run it, and things were going well.
And while the audit uncovered bookkeeping errors that totaled in the hundreds of thousands, Belork told the state the problems in her office were due to a lack of cooperation between her office and those of the auditor and commissioners.
The Starke County Commissioners will be holding a meeting this afternoon at approximately 4:30 p.m. to discuss the 2010 report. This meeting is open to the public.