By John Hamilton -

BLANCHESTER — The Blanchester Board of Public Affairs (BPA) chairman wants citizens to know they’re taking steps to improve staff procedures involving purchases in response to a recent State Auditor’s report.

In a statement from BPA Chair Robert Haines, he advised there were monthly credit card statements processed for payments that were missing specific purchase receipts.

“We have approximately 20 employees working, who order supplies for repairs and upkeep. It’s a chronic struggle to track down every receipt, but we are making a great effort to do so,” said Haines.

He noted the auditor’s office was able to substantiate most of the purchases as proper expenditures of funds that benefited the BPA.

He said two other purchase receipts were brought into question.

“BPA staff has since determined that the Field & Stream purchase was for chest-high waders for use at the water treatment plant facility,” he said. “To put this all into perspective, the $724 finding by the state auditor’s office is approximately 0.000038 percent of the total budget for the BPA operations during the 2015-2016 audit period.”

These comments were in response to a report from State Auditor David Yost’s office citing the Village of Blanchester for failing to maintain receipts for more than $7,000 in credit card purchases. This is the second audit in a row where they were cited.

The audit also stated there was $280 in prohibited credit card purchases.

The report names Assistant Utilities Director and the village’s Board of Public Affairs Manager Jim Myers responsible for the unsupported and improper spending, which occurred in 2015 and 2016, according to the auditor.

“Blanchester officials have again demonstrated an inability to use credit cards responsibly,” Auditor Dave Yost said. “It’s time to take the necessary steps to prevent wasteful spending and ensure a complete record of every transaction.”

Haines also expounded on Mayor John Carman’s statement in regards to BPA Manager Jim Myers.

“In his capacity as the assistant utility director, Jim Myers submits all billing statements and invoices to the BPA board for review and approval, before processing the actual payments. He is not directly making all the various problems,” said Haines.

He added that he and the other BPA members — James Bowling and Dennis Blocker — are striving to be transparent and good stewards of the of the village utility funds.

“Each of us on the BPA board are lifelong residents of the Blanchester area. We pay the same utility rates as our customers and therefore, want all BPA expenditures to be above reproach,” said Haines.

By John Hamilton

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574.

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574.