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Bainbridge parks supervisor fired after paying son for summer work he did not do

An employee with the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District paid his son for summer work for the park system that was never actually done, a state audit of the park district has discovered.

Terry Lande, executive director of the park district, said the supervisor was fired earlier this spring when the discrepancy was discovered.

Lande said the supervisor's son, a summertime employee, was paid for work that was never done.

"Somebody inflated his time sheet by 65 hours in 2011," Lande said.

Auditors who reviewed the park district's accounts said the case was being referred to the Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office.

The payroll problems were discovered as state auditors reviewed the district's books for the time period of January 2010 through December 2011.

The discovery prompted the auditor's office to note the payroll problem as a finding in its recent audit of the district, which was released Monday.

State auditors faulted the district for unclear policies and inadequate controls over payroll activities.

Auditors also said their review found many other time sheets for the employee were missing.

"The park services department supervisor entered payroll data for his son, a senior park aid, from 2007 through 2011. At times, he directly supervised his son between 2007 and 2010 and continued to enter his timesheet information into the district’s payroll system during 2011," the audit report states.

"We identified $19,134 in unsupported pay to his son from 2007 through 2010 due to missing time sheets. We also noted the son received pay for 65.5 hours more than what was reported on his time sheets during 2011," the audit report said.

Auditors also identified another $14,806 in unsupported payments to other district employees where time sheets were missing.

State officials said they interviewed the parks supervisor and his son, and they could not explain why the additional hours were paid.

Officials with the State Auditor's Office have advised the parks district to seek repayment of $2,261, and investigation costs of $2.250, from the supervisor's son who was paid for work that could not be verified.

"Any compromise or settlement of this claim by the [park] district must be approved in writing by the Attorney General and State Auditor," the auditor's office added.

In their response to the audit, parks officials said they had taken multiple steps to establish better internal controls. Parks officials also said they would try to recover any funds that were improperly paid and would assist the county prosecutor in the case.

"The district takes this issue very seriously and will work with the Auditor’s Office to address every aspect of concern," the park district said in its response.

"Internal controls have already been put in place to help eradicate potential fraud and errors to include the following:

Establishment of a payroll committee to develop and improve the personnel policies relating to payroll as well as payroll procedures. In the meantime payroll has been centralized and is now completed only by the accounting personnel.

The district now requires that all time sheets are reviewed by trained accounting personnel after review and approval by the supervisors. The accounting personnel are the only employees allowed to enter time in the payroll system and only after the time sheets have been reviewed for accuracy.

The district requires that all time sheets are reviewed and signed by supervisors prior to any employee being paid.

The district now requires that all times sheets are turned in monthly and held according to the record retention policies."

In the audit report, auditors found multiple issues with payroll records for the supervisor's son between 2007 and 2011.

Those issues included:

The supervisor's son was paid for 49.5 hours, valued at $640, due to the son listing more hours on the time sheet total than what the detailed hours added up to;

He was paid for 16 hours, valued at $207, due to his father, the park services supervisor, entering more hours into the payroll system than were listed on the timesheet;

He was paid an additional $747 in July 2011 when the hourly rate paid was greater than the approved rate which started July 1, 2011;

He was paid an additional $667 in October 2011 due to an increase in hourly pay which had no documentation or approval;

The hours on the time sheet had been altered on two dates from a dash to an eight, but auditors could not determine when the records were altered and so, officials could not confirm a loss occurred;

Only five of 23 time sheets were approved by both the employee and supervisor; and

Thirteen of 23 time sheets were missing between 2007 and 2010, resulting in unsupported pay of at least $19,134.

The Bainbridge park district has roughly 150 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees.

Auditors said they found $19,134 in unsupported pay made by the park services department supervisor to his son from 2007 through 2010 that could not be traced to a time sheets. That was in addition to the 65.5 hours in pay the son received that was above what was reported on his time sheets during 2011.

Auditors also noted another $14,806 in unsupported payments to other district employees that also stemmed from missing time sheets; 10 of 16 time sheets were missing for two employees between 2009 and 2011.

Also, the district could not find any department hourly employee time sheets for 2008.

 

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