Math errors prompt $147K county 'write-off'

Erie County auditor Rick Jeffrey can't pinpoint exactly how $147,024 went missing from the county's general fund years ago, but the discrepancies are documented in the state auditor’s evaluations on local finances obtained by the Register through a public records request.
Andy Ouriel
Nov 3, 2012

A document offering a summary of some county budgets effective July 2012 shows a "write-off reconciliation variance" for the $147,024.

So what did Jeffrey do?

He essentially erased the negative balance from the books by approving the write-off so all funds could even out.

But don't call it a write-off, Jeffrey said.

"A write-off is the adjusting of the numbers to get it to where the balance should be," Jeffrey said. "It's a misnomer saying 'we are throwing it away.'"


Get Saturday's Register to find out how bad math added up to $147,024. 


Julie R.

Why would the county commissioners be held accountable for the auditor's office when OHIO LAW designates the county prosecutor to be the chief legal counsel for all public offices? Sure wouldn't be the county commissioners fault, either, if auditors authorize fraudulent transfers of property, recorders knowingly file fraud documents and joke courts of law force property with serious defects in the titles to be sold at scam sheriff sales under fraud preliminary judicial reports.


It seems to me that the fox is guarding the chicken coop here, does it not seem that way to anyone else? Why in the world would anyone take someone's word for anything at this point where all this missing money is concerned? I think it may be time to appeal to a higher power and go OUTSIDE the community for answers since there are none here.

Is it too much to ask that we find out once and for all since this seems to be a HUGE problem and now someone is doing a random act of "fixing" the books by adding and subtracting to the tune of a couple hundred thousand dollars to fix the problem?

I think maybe it is time to contact Columbus and ASK that the send someone to do an audit of the county books whether it costs us money or not. This is totally unacceptable and if the powers that be can't give a reasonable answer to a direct question other than 'someone made a few math errors somewhere" (dry that out and you can fertilize the parks with it), then maybe we need a LOT of help here.

I, for one, don't like that answer and want to know what the heck happened to that money and WHO HAS IT OR WHERE IT WENT. EITHER SOMEONE TOOK IT OR SOMEONE MADE A BIG MISTATKE.

Either way, as a taxpayer, I have a right to know and I have the right to an HONEST answer so I am going to see if I can get one.

Julie R.

@wiredmama: In Erie County the fox has been guarding the chicken coop for a loooong time --- a lot longer than anybody would ever guess. The public officials also seem to forget that government offices are not private businesses and as a public entity the people have every right to that information and by law they have to provide it --- but in Erie County they don't adhere to the laws so good luck in trying to get an answer.

Julie R.

How long was Jude Hammond the auditor, anyway? Wasn't it for least 7 years -- from 1998 right up until 2005 -- when he suddenly resigned to take a job as the treasurer of the Margaretta schools? Didn't the office's former chief fiscal officer up and quit right about that time, also? So did the recorder, Trish Fraley. Didn't she suddenly decide to retire in 2005 right after Hammond resigned? Wasn't it Tom Paul, who worked in the prosecutor's office, that took Hammond's place?

According to the paper state auditors were continually questioning why the county's bank accounts, under the watch of first Hammond and then Paul, never balanced from 2004 right up until 2009. Now all of a sudden the new auditor finds a $147,024.00 discrepancy in the books, but on the advice I'm sure of the prosecutor --- who is the chief counsel for all public offices --- he writes it off claiming it was math errors on the part of the employees.

Yeah, right.


Like I said, perhaps someone needs to ask for a "recheck" by someone not associated here?