Mount Carmel Council: Treasurer 'shifted' $67,000
MOUNT CARMEL - Following an auditor's note regarding approximately $67,000 of misplaced borough money, the Mount Carmel Borough Council voted to open the Lower Anthracite Transportation System (LATS) director and borough treasurer position for applications at Thursday's meeting.
Anthony Matulewicz III, borough council president, said Megan Janolek, who currently occupies the LATS director position, is not being immediately terminated until the situation is investigated further.
"We're just opening it and we're going to go from there," he said. "It's more of a statement. We're looking and we're serious."
Matulewicz said he discovered the $67,000 error approximately two weeks ago when the borough's auditor said she couldn't complete this year's audit because she needed numerous items to verify why transactions occurred.
While looking over the list, Matulewicz saw that Janolek had shifted $67,000 into the reconciliation/discrepancy fund to balance the books. He did not clarify if the switch had occurred in one large transaction or several small transactions, but did say it appeared she had completed it by moving extra money from the cash fund to the reconciliation/discrepancy fund to account for unrecorded revenues.
"Whatever was off, (Janolek) just switched it," he said. "The auditor was bringing it to our attention piecemeal."
Matulewicz said that while Janolek's past financial filings had small errors in them, this year's was drastically worse. He estimated between 50 and 60 errors were discovered by the auditor before she had to stop.
"There has been little mistakes but there has not been anything like this," he said. "There's enough to say we're displeased."
Matulewicz brought the errors, including the $67,000 reconciliation/discrepancy fund switch, to the attention of the rest of the council at Monday's work session. The council spoke extensively about Janolek without a resolution.
At Thursday's meeting, the board was still conflicted about terminating Janolek. When a motion to open the position of LATS director and borough treasurer was brought up, the board voted unanimously to go into executive session.
After the executive session, the board voted 5-1 to open Janolek's position to applications. Robert Shirmer abstained from the vote; he is a relative. Council vice president Leroy Moser Jr. was the sole dissenting vote. He said he could not publicly disclose his reasoning, but it had to do in part with unanswered questions.
He was not the only council member with questions about the accounting errors. A primary reason Janolek was not immediately let go is because the council does not yet fully understand how the errors occurred because the auditor has not yet completed the audit due to missing documents.
"We do need more time to look into it," said Matulewicz. "It's too soon to do anything."
Matulewicz said the errors occurred during the 2012-13 fiscal year while Janolek was still in the position of borough treasurer. These duties were transferred to borough manager Edward T. Cuff III March 1 so Janolek could focus on managing LATS.
The post includes both LATS director and borough treasurer duties in the position.