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Sunday, Apr. 19, 2015

City officials respond to findings

Friday, February 18, 2011

(Photo)
Ann Bradshaw
A recent audit of the City of Brazil's finances has caused quite a stir.

On Friday, Brazil Mayor Ann Bradshaw and City Attorney Traci Lawson spoke to The Brazil Times on behalf of the city to provide a response to the Indiana State Board of Accounts (SBOA) audit examination report of the 2009 finances.

The report states Bradshaw received $2,428 on Oct. 16, 2008, which was originally thought to be an underpayment, but it was later determined she had not been underpaid.

"Our SBOA auditor at the time was Peggy Arnold, who told the former clerk she, along with myself, had been underpaid," Bradshaw said. "A check was brought to me, then within the next month, a second check was given to me, which set off red flags."

Bradshaw said she did not have knowledge about the supposed underpayment until she received the check, but once the second check came to her, she immediately called Arnold for input about the situation.

"Peggy told me she had told the former clerk about the underpayments, but that she did not specify an amount," she said. "While I was speaking to Peggy, I also set up the repayment."

In reference to receiving the $1,000 buyout Nov. 14, 2007, for not accepting the city's health/accident group insurance, Bradshaw said she believed she was eligible for it at the time.

"It was my understanding at the time that I was eligible for the buyout," Bradshaw said. "I found out later that I was not eligible, and I immediately called our auditor to schedule a reimbursement of the buyout."

(Photo)
Traci Lawson
Lawson and Bradshaw concurred the same situation occurred Nov. 31, 2008, when Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen received the buyout, which was also repaid.

The audit report also showed the city had numerous funds with negative balances at the end of 2009.

"The budget is definitely an issue, and it is never good to have any funds in the red," Lawson said. "With the findings of this audit, we have to take an especially close look at it."

Lawson added other findings will require the city to examine and set new procedures.

"We take this audit very seriously," she said. "There are many things that will need to addressed, some of which will be simply by implementing policies."

One of the areas Lawson cited as needing a policy is the city's use of credit cards to purchase items, as there is not one currently on the books.

When it came to other findings from the audit, Bradshaw said she is letting things run their course.

"To my knowledge, I am not aware of an investigation on myself or Karen," she said. "Everything else is in the hands of the proper authorities."


Her own side

Former Brazil City Clerk-Treasurer Tracy Webster has contacted The Brazil Times about providing an explanation about her connection to the State Board of Accounts audit report findings.

However, she said she is in the process of gathering documentation to present and will provide a statement sometime in the near future.


Comments
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Let's see how the Trial by Public Opinion instead of with the facts turns out. I'm guessing that the verdict of guilty until proven innocent has already been determined.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Fri, Feb 18, 2011, at 10:11 PM

All hail the Judge of the Court of Public Opinion.

I'm sure that if an error was made and corrected as soon as it was found to be an error, everyone shouts the fact from the rooftops!

Anyone who knows anything about bookeeping would know that there are ledgers of credits and debits, so there is a written record along with the dates. There may not be a record of when the error was discovered. I'm pretty sure that should one go to city hall, one would be shown but if only one showed up a person might lose the ability to hide behind a pen name and make accusations.

Is it an ethics issue or simply an error in book-keeping?

I think #4 is answered in another article as the ladies are candidates for re-election.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Fri, Feb 18, 2011, at 10:32 PM

You stated Mrs. Bradshaw that you immediately informed the auditor and repaid but in actuality you didn't pay til later the next year. And what about the other monies you have received for vacation, etc in prior years? That wasn't addressed either. You admit that you triggered this audit and it has backfired on you and now you are just doing damage control. The city's finances are horrible even with a professional accountant. Brazil needs a change.

-- Posted by letsgettherealtruth on Fri, Feb 18, 2011, at 10:34 PM

guilty a leo said. this is the same thing ya alldid with terry harrison. especially leo. she should resign .

-- Posted by GO HOOSIERS on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 3:24 AM

people who know the mayor know her integrity. A lot of people in this town live in glass houses and they are the ones who throw the most stones. there have been bad streets in this town for more than two years.

-- Posted by grays on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 9:59 AM

After reading this article, I admit that I have more questions than answers about the Audit:

1. Isn't the Board of Works required to approve all expenses/invoices that are presented from the Clerk-Treasurer? And if so, isn't the Mayor President of the Board? So, did she approve her own check for underpayment and in regard to the insurance buyout (Ordinance 30-2005), wasn't she President of the Council when that ordinance was passed?

2. In regards to the overdrawn cash balances mentioned in this article, for the last 3 years the city has had overdrawn cash balances according to the 2007 & 2008 audits, so why is this an issue now? According to the Annual Financial Report prepared by the Clerk-Treasurer (CTAR-1) the overdrawn balances are an astounding number, and in all 3 audits (2007,2008,2009) the auditor notes "Routinely overdrawn funds could be an indicator of serious financial problems, and should be investigated by the governmental unit" so why have these overdrawn balances not a concern before now?

3. One thing that wasn't mentioned from the 2009 audit was the Personal Expenses portion (pg 12). It stated that CITY OFFICIALS and employees were allowed to purchase computers for personal use through the Police Department Fund, and that the city obtained a BANK LOAN at the time of purchase..Of course the money has since been paid back, but I would like to know who the city officials are that were involved in this, especially if they are elected. I don't think I would be employed at my job if I obtained a bank loan in my employers name, even if I did pay it back.

Oh, and if it is the policy for the Board of Works to approve all invoices for payment...who approved the expense for the computers?

-- Posted by mo47834 on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 11:16 AM

I accept the Mayor's response.

It funny how the majority on here want the mayor's head on a platter, when Brazil previously had a mayor that everyone knew was...well, you know...absolutely knew it, and yet he was elected 4 times.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 12:21 PM

Rollie Coster.....LOL, I don't have a degree in anything. I didn't waste your tax dollars getting one at VA expense knowing that I can never work a regular job even though they wanted to pay for four years of college when I may or may not be able to show up 50% of the time I'm scheduled attend classes or to work.

Not having a degree doesn't exactly mean that I know nothing. If there are no ledgers or records, what did the SBOA audit? Memories?....lol.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 2:23 PM

Lets just get it out in the open with the poor book keeping practices by the clerks how many more employees have been over paid but have not repaid that extra money ? Don't call for the Mayor to resign when she repaid it and was the one to call attention that she was overpaid in two instances, why would a bookkeeping error that was corrected be newsworthy ? Do you think this is something she purposefully did, she did not. How many extra checks were doled out by the clerks office we'll probably never know other than the ones that have been found and were repaid some years ago, except for websters ?

-- Posted by Edward Kane on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 2:30 PM

I think Mayor Bradshaw has been honest and up front about this situation and I personally don't see any reason to question her any more. Seems like the same few people on here with negative things to say all the time. I would sure hate to live my life being so hateful. Good luck with that.

And good luck with the upcoming election Mrs. Bradshaw, you have my support.

-- Posted by JustSayN on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 2:42 PM

Isn't_it_obvious_to_us?

You have got to be kidding. Seriously? He was about the most corrupt person, let alone mayor, this town has ever seen. I think we are still paying some of his outstanding debt. But hey, I guess its your opinion. WOW

-- Posted by lifehasitsmoments on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 3:20 PM

Many things will come out if charges are brought forward by the state. I am sure that people will be vindicated and justice will be served to those who are guilty. But why crucify anyone until the facts are all known? We all have questions and many of us can be duped into something wrong when you believe it to be right all along. But one vital question I have is if all this started in or before May of 2008, Who Was The People in office? I may be wrong but I thought that elections were held and both the Mayor and Clerk- Treasurer took office as of May of 2008. As it stands right now, they have my vote. They did nothing wrong but try to be honest and report a bad act. Remember that when dealing with government agencies, these things take time to investigate. It never happens overnight.

-- Posted by wiser by age on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 4:29 PM

Is the mayor's explaination 'she didn't know' or 'had no idea' good for everyone? For me it is not. She was on the city council, as well as counsil president, for years. She knew what could & could not be done. Her paying back the money it not the main issue. I beleive Terry Harrison returned the City's money as well and he was fired and has been charged criminally. Why would she accept a payment 2 times & not investigate it further. I know I would want to know especially if it was taxpayer money.

As far as her so called accomplishments;

Water Tower - project was started by former mayor Tom Arthur and our water rates have been raised 87% under Ann Bradshaw. Pinckley St. repaving- did she take out a $90,000 loan for the project? Yet another debt placed upon the taxpayers when our city finances are currently in shambles.

We need to look at getting someone in the office of mayor who is a lot more qualified than someone who can't manage the city in a responsible manner which is evident in the cities financial deficiet of 2008-2009 which was over $400K. Who knows about the current deficiet as Bradshaw does not give the citizens a State of City address, as was done the previous 15 years by former mayors.

One thing is for sure, with Bradshaw as mayor there will always be more questions than answers.

-- Posted by ArmyGuy99 on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 4:44 PM

Some speak of the Mayors' timing in this investigation. If it were timed, do you really think she'd time it just prior to an election? Get real! She wants the truth out just as much, if not more than anyone! The sooner the better...

-- Posted by Dagnabbit on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 7:57 PM

so someone explain how is this any different then what terry did oops what they said he did. he paid back money too but yet his face and name was all over the news and tv. he even went to jail why didnt she go the jail??? oh!! i get it she caught the mistake herself you really believe that crap ?? come on are there any honest people in charge in tnis town. is this why our streets and sidewalks suck because public officals are spending our tax paying money on themselves.

-- Posted by 1grammy on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 8:38 PM

uighhhhhjyhg

-- Posted by IIVIIy Name Is on Sat, Feb 19, 2011, at 9:55 PM

thats right 1grammy. and the mayor did not offer to pay this back until after he name showed up in the audit.its time for mr. reberger do his job again this is basicly the ame thing he charged terry with .bad timing ann u must b related 2 brazilresidents2003 to get his vote.what goes around comes around.

-- Posted by GO HOOSIERS on Sun, Feb 20, 2011, at 3:39 AM

Remember: All of the above with their "strong opinions" could and should run for office. However, after reading all this CRAP, I am not sure the City of Brazil and it's citizens would be any better off! LOL The Accounting System is flawed/broken and has been for quite sometime. Fix it people instead of pointing fingers!!!! Then, have the correct checks and balances in place! I am sure every morning the mayor and her team wakes up and thinks, hum, how can I cheat Brazil and it's taxpayers out of $$$$...Ridiculous LOL LOL LOL

-- Posted by indygirl.com on Sun, Feb 20, 2011, at 10:19 AM

CALM DOWN!

What we all need is to learn to put words together before we do anything. Then, afterwards, we'll learn spelling and punctuation.

Now, take your seats.

-- Posted by Dagnabbit on Sun, Feb 20, 2011, at 7:35 PM

Public Opinion is how we vote, so remember in november.Isn't_it_obvious_to_us you will REMEMBER THE THINGS the mayor HAs DONE FOR BRAZIL EVEN IF OTHERS DON'T. I want you to think about how much money has been wasted on audit's that could have paved another road or fixed another water line. the actions of the mayor buying items out of the police account is 1 of the reasons why the former police chief refused to place grant money into the police account becuase the mayor had her had in the cookie jar. its time for a new mayor

-- Posted by po-po on Mon, Feb 21, 2011, at 12:45 PM

Wow, there are certain opinions out there that sound like a broken record! Obviously they scan the paper daily to put their two cent opinion in. Let the authorities handle it and lay off the people involved unless they took money from your personal bank account. Of course, freedom of speech right? The Mayor also has freedom of speech. I like the comments indygirl.com and Dagnabbit made. Those make sense! Mayor,just do your job that you were elected to do and forget about negative comments. Nobody can take care of everything in just a few years that took years to mess up. At least she didn't sell our snow removal equipment that keeps our streets safe in the winter weather.

-- Posted by Say it again girl! on Mon, Feb 21, 2011, at 1:39 PM

Say it again girl!

You stated, "lay off the people involved unless they took money from your personal bank account." Public funds are your and my funds. They came from our personal bank accounts to the government for government use only. Public servants must be worthy of trust with the most basics things like our money and our rights. As Isn't if obvious to us? states, please don't lower your expectations. When people step into the political ring, they know what is expected of them and have the responsibility to conduct themselves in an ethical manner.

-- Posted by Claycountian on Mon, Feb 21, 2011, at 4:59 PM

The article states "One of the areas Lawson cited as needing a policy is the city's use of credit cards to purchase items, as there is not one currently on the books"

Ms. Lawson, you might want to check the city of Brazil's website,under city ordinances. There is an ordinance, Look under Title III. It is 33-2005 approved on 10.12.2005. I thought the mayor was the council president in 2005.

-- Posted by mo47834 on Mon, Feb 21, 2011, at 8:24 PM

How come "breaking news" doesn't happen in Brazil's paper! Had to read this on WTHI's website. Ain't that a shame! Out on bail already!

-- Posted by Proud of My Country on Tue, Feb 22, 2011, at 5:50 PM


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