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State auditor releases report on Armstrong special investigation

Report released today includes details of improper payouts and nearly $8,000 in late fees and penalties

September 27, 2017
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

A special investigation of the City of Armstrong's financial activity turned up $100,650.10 of undeposited utility collections and improper and unsupported disbursements, according to a report released by Mary Mosiman, Auditor of State. Mosiman also reported $88,600.00 of this amount is composed of estimated utility collections which were unbilled or not properly deposited. Among the findings:

-City Clerk Kate Staton was paid $936 on October 16, 2016 for 72 hours of PTO. In accordance with the City's policy, no more than 40 hours of unused PTO, or a total of $520, should have been paid out, Mosiman said in the report.

-The City does not have a policy regarding cell phone allowances. However, Ms. Staton received check number 21823 for $300 on July 12, 2016 for a cell phone allowance during the period reviewed. As a result, the Auditor's office said, the payment is improper. In addition, the payment was not included in her taxable wages.

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-Ms. Staton issued herself check number 21892 in August 2015 for $605.82. The check was cosigned by the Mayor but the payment was not approved by the City Council. The Auditor was unable to determine what the payment was for because supporting documentation was not available and City officials the Auditor's office spoke with were unable to provide an explanation for the unusually large payment.

See tomorrow's edition of the Estherville News for more details from this report.



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