• Last modified 22 days ago (May 23, 2024)


County neglects to publish 6 of 7 quarterly statements

Staff writer

Marion County missed publishing six of seven legally required quarterly reports over the past year and a half.

Treasurer Tina Groening, appointed in November after Susan Berg died of cancer, said the missing reports were attributable to Berg’s illness and office employees having to learn new tasks.

“When she was struggling with her illness, she was not only out a lot, but it was difficult for her to keep up,” Groening said. “After she passed, there was a transition.”

In going forward after Berg’s death, there was a time staff members were not able to do the quarterly reports, Groening said.

“With the basics, you can learn quite a bit pretty quickly, but some things take longer,” she said.

Everyone in the office had to learn new jobs, and all employees are doing the best they can do, Groening said.

She and the rest of the staff are completing tasks that didn’t get finished.

She also has new tasks to learn and is still becoming aware of what was missed.

Making tax distributions five times a year also was a new task for her to learn. When she took over, she had to take care of distributions going back to September.

She called another county treasurer for guidance. The September and October distributions were completed only one and two days late.

By January, she knew what she was doing, and the distribution was on time.

Now she has turned her attention to quarterly reports, Groening said.

“I’m doing it as quickly as I can while still trying to maintain the daily services,” she said.

Under state law, failing to publish quarterly reports could lead to a fine of $25 a day.

Quarterly reports for October, 2022; January, April, July and October 2023; and January 2024 were not produced.

The law requires that a county treasurer who neglects or refuses to make and publish the statement liable for a fine of not less than $25 for each and every day the report was not made. The money is to be recovered by a court action against the treasurer, brought in the name of the county commissioners.

Lawyer Max Kautsch said all missing reports should be published as soon as possible for the treasurer to avoid liability as well as to promote the interest of accountability of public spending.

Kautsch added that each delinquent report needs to “fully describe” any money held in abeyance from quarter to quarter.

Last modified May 23, 2024