Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ohio Watchdog roundup: theft in office, good bills, bad bills, balanced budget amendment

I wanted to share with you a roundup of some of the stories on Ohio Watchdog:

Two thefts paint strange tales in Ohio takes a look at the two public officials who stole from their employer - and the way the public bodies dealt with the crime:

Gary Madrzykowski, director of the Olander Park System in Sylvania, Ohio, wrote himself a $2,500 check from the park’s bank account.

He also was taking cash out of the park’s cash drawer, but replaced it the next day so it would go unnoticed.

Earlier this month, Madrzykowski was questioned about the check after the park’s bookkeeper brought it to the attention of a board member. He resigned his $71,000 per year position.

The three-member park board does not plan to press charges. The $2,500 has not yet been repaid.

Sharon R. Vankanegan was the clerk and treasurer of the Kinsman Free Public Library in Kinsman, Ohio, a small community about a half-hour north of Youngstown.

For two years beginning in January 2010, she used the library’s credit card and Sam’s Club card to make $22,830 worth of purchases that were not for the library or for which receipts could not be located.

Continue reading...

OH court ruling hurts bonding companies, taxpayers examines the story of former Toledo Public Schools business manager Dan Burns who stole hundreds of thousands from the district and continued the thefts when he moved to the Cleveland school system.

Should a school official convicted of theft in office still get a state pension?

According to Ohio law he does, and bonding companies that insure against such illegalities are not entitled to restitution, an appeals court has ruled.

In Ohio, many public officials, especially those who handle money, are bonded to ensure the “faithful execution of their duties.” The public employer pays the cost of bond, like an insurance policy, and if money goes missing or is misspent, the bonding company will reimburse the public employer.

But with this latest ruling, the courts have made it clear a public employee’s pension cannot be garnished to recoup any money paid by a bonding company when an employee steals from a public employer.

Continue reading...

The good, the bad and the ugly in Ohio’s summer recess bills examines some of the bills that state legislators have introduced - from outlawing special elections in February and August to mandating the color of car headlights.

Then there is the latest from Gov. John Kasich who wants a constitutional convention to address a balanced budget amendment. My concern is whether or not a constitutional convention can be limited to just one topic and, if not, what damage might be done if some decide to just start re-writing it?

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