On April 14, Delaware County Treasurer, John Dorer, was arrested. Per the Muncie Star newspaper Dorer saw “47 criminal charges that accuse him of repeatedly mishandling, and in one instance stealing, county funds.” No one from the local level to the Indiana Statehouse can say with any certainty if money has been stolen on more than one occasion. The books are in such bad shape, it is impossible to follow the accounting records, making it easy to siphon off funds unnoticed.
As would be expected, varied opinions on his guilt or innocence appeared in the story chats. Some went as far as to say he was framed by the local Democrat Party. The Democrat Party may be in control in our little neck of the woods. Doubtful their power extends to the state government. Dorer is a Democrat, but divorced his affiliation from the Headquarters and instead ran on the Team Democrat “ticket”. He won in 2008 and again in 2012.
Rather than take the newspaper’s word as gospel, decided to head to the Indiana State Board of Accounts and read for myself the audit reports. Having read audits on the Muncie Sanitary District, City of Muncie, Muncie Public Schools and other various taxing units I gleaned quite a bit of information on the workings of Delaware County. One common theme seems to be the same mistakes are repeated again and again. You’ll find the audits below:
John Dorer is responsible for his actions and should he be found guilty will need to be accountable to the State of Indiana and finally the taxpayers of Delaware County. The treasurer is the start of the financial chain and may even possibly be the leading cause to Delaware County’s fiscal woes. The Treasurer’s Department prepares the financial information and submits it to the Auditor’s Office, which in turn disseminates the fiscal information to the County Council and County Commissioners. If the records are in such disarray from the start, then it’s obvious their decisions are based on faulty accounting. That’s a problem, folks.
Who’s minding the store?
At the close of every audit, an exit interview is conducted by the State Board of Accounts with sundry elected officials attending. No action is taken by the elected officials to insure the violations are curbed, the same happens again the next year. Again and again. Public servants, elected, have ignored the audits while untold millions in taxpayer money slips into the abyss of shoddy management.
While we point our fingers and cluck our tongues at Dorer’s arrest, we refuse willingly or out of ignorance to ask our elected officials what role did they play in all this? By their inaction, plenty. When they knock on your door, seeking your vote, gently ask of them “Who’s minding the store?”
If you have some time to kill, take a gander at other State Board of Accounts audits. Imagine allowing non-bonded employees to collect cash; employees paid cash without any paperwork; one cash drawer (City Clerk lost $13,000); no contracts for services rendered; $3,500,00.00 with no internal controls(2012 Redevelopment audit), etc, etc, etc.
“Governmental units should have internal controls in effect which provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial information and records, effectiveness and efficiency of operations, proper execution of management’s objectives, and compliance with laws and regulations. Among other things, segregation of duties, safeguarding controls over cash and all other assets and all forms of information processing are necessary for proper internal control. (Accounting and Uniform Compliance Guidelines Manual for Counties of Indiana, Chapter 1)”
Good evening, folks.
If you have received your property tax bill, please make sure you pay close attention to the enclosed Homestead Deduction form. The form is pink-do not discard it. If you tossed it, don’t despair there is plenty of information in this post on how to continue your Homestead Deduction.
All people eligible for a Homestead Deduction must complete the form to continue receiving the deduction on your property taxes.
“Completing the form confirms that the individual is using the property as his or her permanent home, an eligibility requirement of the deduction,” County Auditor Judy Rust said.
Individuals or married couples claiming the homestead deduction must provide the last five digits of their driver’s license and Social Security numbers. This information will be placed in a secure database that will enable all county auditors in Indiana to cross-check names, identifying those who may be claiming a homestead deduction in more than one county.
“The homestead deduction gives a qualifying individual or couple a substantial property tax benefit by lowering their property tax obligation,” Rust said. “When individuals who do not qualify receive this benefit, it costs other taxpayers more.” Muncie Star Press 6-6-10
For more information contact: Delaware County Auditor
You will enjoy working with the Auditor’s Office. Some great people working there!
Additional information can be found at DLGF Department of Local Government Finance