RANSOM TWP. The Ransom Township Board of Supervisors announced at its meeting Aug. 6 the cost of the ongoing forensic audit of township finances reached its initial limit of $7,500. The amount was set at a special meeting May 16 when the supervisors adopted a resolution to enter into an agreement with Marx Accounting and Forensic Services in Scranton, to perform a forensic accounting investigation of the township books, records and other information from the past five years.
Supervisor David Bird said township Solicitor Edmund Scacchitti will set up a meeting with the firm to determine the additional cost of the audit.
"We're at that $7,500 mark now," Bird said. "For him [the auditor] to go deeper—which, there are some issues—we need a dollar amount to see where we're at and give them the go ahead."
When Ransom Township resident Kathy Rowinski asked what those "issues" are, Supervisor Dennis Macheska explained the audit will now be expanding to cover Earned Income Tax.
The forensic audit, requested by Pa. State Police, follows the resignation of former township secretary-treasurer Kathy Zielinski, which was accepted at an emergency meeting March 19 after irregularities were found during an audit of the township finances, according to Scacchitti.
Several residents in attendance at the meeting inquired as to whether the investigation is in the hands of the State Police and if so, asked if they should pay the bill. Supervisors explained the State Police do control the investigation, but are not able to move forward until the forensic audit is complete.
A State Police report dated July 18 stated an arrest is expected in conjunction with the continuing investigation which revealed "several thousand dollars were misappropriated by a former township employee for personal use."
According to State Police Trooper Connie Devens, no charges will be filed in the investigation until the results of the forensic audit are received.
The Supervisors introduced the new township secretary-treasurer Sarah Griggs, originally from Dalton and now residing in Newton Township, whose first day was August 6.
The supervisors said she was hired part-time to work 30 hours per week at $16 an hour, and she will generally work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The next supervisors meeting will be held Tuesday, September 4, as the first Monday of the month falls on a holiday.