A special investigation by the State Auditor’s office finds the city of Farmington in the southeast corner of the state lost $247,000 when the former city clerk failed to follow through with her duties. Deputy State Auditor, Tami Kusian, says the audit found $210,000 in lost utility funds due to the inaction of former city clerk Nichole Jarvis during a three-year period.
“There were individuals not being billed for their utilities and there were individuals that were not being billed the proper amounts. And this went on for some time — so it’s a pretty good chunk of money that was not collected by the city,” Kusian says. She says the city also lost money for inaction by Jarvis on other issues.
“We had improper disbursements of over $37,000, and over $36,000 of that were late fees, penalties and interest charges because the city clerk was not paying the bills in a timely manner,” according to Kusian. Part the improper disbursements mentioned by Kusian involved $761 in personal Jarvis allegedly bought and charged to a city credit card.
Kusian says her office made several recommendations for the city to improve its oversight of its money. She says they includes improving the segregation of duties, making sure bank reconciliation are performed and ensuring that the council and mayor are involved in the proper oversight so that the utility system is current and the bills are done correctly.
Jarvis was fired from her position in November of 2012. The state audit report has been turned over to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office, county attorney and state officials for review.