The Ohio state auditor said the Athens County Board of Elections was abusing taxpayer dollars when it overpaid eight employees last year, but local officials say the $1,603 overpayment was a “clerical error.”

Eight employees at the Athens County Board of Elections were overpaid during the fiscal year of 2018, according to a recent state audit. The overpayments amounted to a total of $1,603.

“Sloppy financial organization costs taxpayer’s time and money,” Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber said in a release. “The Athens County Board of Elections must put controls in place to stop their waste, and abuse of taxpayer dollars.”

The following overpayments occurred, according to the state auditor’s findings:

  • Director Debra Quivey, $223
  • Clerk Carol Perry, $125
  • Clerk Olga Thomas, $110
  • Temporary Worker Phillip Thomas, $143
  • Temporary Worker David Allen, $251
  • Temporary Worker Paul Moore, $143
  • Part-time Worker Monte Quivey, $429
  • And Full-time Employee Carol Simmons, $179

Director Quivey and Deputy Director Penny Brooks repaid the full amount on Aug. 8, according to the auditor’s report. Tax dollars weren’t used for the repayments, BOE Chair Kate McGuckin said. That money came from workers’ personal accounts. 

Faber slammed the board for the errors, which occurred due to confusion regarding overtime payments. Board of elections employees are required to work extra hours around elections, McGuckin said. 

According to the audit, the board’s timesheets were formatted as an eight-day work week, followed by a six-day work week. In some cases, however, time cards were mistakenly reported as being a nine-day work week, leading to overtime payments and mistakes. 

“There was no intent to defraud anyone,” McGuckin said. 

The board was only alerted to the audit recently, and had already been working for several months to revise their pay system, she said. 

Despite Faber’s strong words and accusations of waste, McGuckin said none of the sentiment he expressed is reflected in the audit. 

“That was his opinion,” McGuckin said.