State auditor withdraws findings for recovery against North College Hill

State Auditor Keith Faber's office announced Thursday it has withdrawn findings for recovery...
State Auditor Keith Faber's office announced Thursday it has withdrawn findings for recovery against several North College Hill officials.(@CityOfNCH)
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 4:04 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2022 at 4:09 AM EDT
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NORTH COLLEGE HILL, Ohio (WXIX) - Last month, State Auditor Keith Faber’s office announced North College Hill officials must repay more than $1,700 from six credit card transactions that could not be substantiated as proper public disbursements.

On Thursday, the state auditor did a rare about-face, announcing his office has withdrawn findings for recovery against several North College Hill officials.

The city administration has since provided documentation confirming the questioned credit card transactions were for a proper public purpose, Faber said in a news release.

The report for the audit of the Hamilton County community’s financial activities for 2019 and 2020 also was reissued Thursday. Read it here.

The audit still raises some concerns for North College Hill, however.

Auditors detected “an unlawful interest in a public contract” after the city’s public works director, Marty Cole, authorized the hiring of his son as a part-time employee, Faber said.

Cole authorized the hiring of his son in 2020 for a part-time position, served as his direct supervisor, and approved his son’s hourly timesheets, the audit uncovered.

Cole did not disclose the potential conflict of interest to the city, auditors determined.

His son was paid $1,848.

The Auditor’s Office referred the issue to the Ohio Ethics Commission.

Auditors also noted:

  • North College Hill “went into a meeting recess on Jan. 18, 2022 to discuss a matter privately. The council did not enter an executive session as permitted (by Ohio law) because the matter was not for an allowable reason. Failure to properly deliberate, discuss and conduct the people’s business could result in noncompliance and litigation.”
  • Five out of nine of the city’s elected officials didn’t attend required public records training or have a designee attend for them, according to the audit.
  • Timely deposits: City has not approved a policy to extend the time between collection and deposit beyond one business day.
  • Appropriations exceeded estimated resources
  • Expenditures exceeded appropriations
  • Unallowable transfers

Thursday’s developments come after state auditors declared the city of North College Hill “unauditable” earlier this year.

Officials failed to file a complete set of financial statements and footnotes and bank-to-bank cash reconciliations for 2020, Faber said.

State Auditor Keith Farber’s updated management letter to North College Hill City Council:

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