GOLD BAR — Up to a third of Gold Bar’s employees may be making more than what’s authorized by city policy, according to state auditors.
Employees can receive step increases in pay every other year, but two employees have received the increases every year. The city had six full-time staff and paid a total of $403,784 in salaries, wages and benefits in 2016, according to a Dec. 19 management letter from the state auditor’s office. The letter did not specify which employees received extra pay increases or for how long.
“The city should consult with its legal counsel on ways to rectify identified overpayments, if any,” auditors wrote.
The city is taking that recommendation and working with lawyers to review the information, city clerk Lisa Stowe said.
Other concerns are outlined in two management letters. None were listed as findings in the city’s final audit, and staff has worked to correct the problems, Stowe said.
Auditors noted that a single employee was tasked with modifying wages, leave accrual rates and deductions in the payroll system. Employee files for 2016 did not always contain information such as job title, salary and employment status. City policy allows for an annual increase in the rate at which vacation is accrued, but that wasn’t happening. When the city tried to adjust leave balances, auditors found errors in the calculations. Those have since been corrected, according to the letter.
The city also underreported hours worked in 2016 to the Department of Labor and Industries because employee accounts were not properly set up in the payroll system. The city owed about $15,000 in workers’ compensation, according to the management letter. Auditors suggested the city work with Labor and Industries to determine if its payments are now complete.
Another letter from auditors said that “employees misunderstood instructions when preparing (the city’s) financial statement and misstated its pension liability … by $154,711.” That, too, has been fixed.
Auditors raised concerns about Gold Bar’s financial reporting earlier in 2017, as well.
“We’ve corrected everything, and we’ll continue taking those actions moving forward,” Stowe said.