Thursday, March 12, 2020

Treasurer, auditor squabble about bank fees

The responsibility for nearly $10,000 in accounting charges sparked a heated exchange at the Feb.11 Sumpter Township Board of Trustees meeting.
Township Treasurer Kenneth Bednark heatedly addressed an agenda item which requested the board authorize payment of $3,062 to the township accounting firm of Post Smythe Lutz and Ziel. The fees were charges for the correction of errors that occurred during the change of township banking from PNC to Comerica by Bednark. Bednark called the fees a political ploy by  Deputy Supervisor Karen Armatis and then claimed the errors were created by Cari Ford and Ron Traskos with Post Smythe Lutz and Ziel and were not the responsibility of his office.

Bednark stated that Ford and the accounting firm should be responsible for the cost of correcting the errors because she approved the bank changes.    Ford attempted to deny the accusation but Bednark interrupted her and refused to let her speak on the issue, stating that he had the floor and she could speak when he was finished.
Bendark also claimed that Township Supervisor John Morgan was to blame for the charges as he had not attended a meeting regarding the bank change. He also claimed that obstacles have been deliberately placed in his path by township officials in retaliation for his banning of Armatis from his office in 2018.
Bednark then went on to inform the audience that there are no qualifications to become a treasurer and that all a candidate needs to do is win the approval of a majority of voters. He then stated that Bozo the clown could be treasurer if he could get the votes.
Ford adamantly denied all Bednark's allegations and disputed his claims. Ford told the board members and audience that she and Post Smythe Lutz and Ziel had no responsibility in the bank change or the errors that occurred.  Ford stated that she was not invited to participate in the planning leading up to the change and stated the Bednark's office was fully responsible for the errors.
Board members voted to remove the item from the agenda and requested a formal statement from Post Smythe Lutz and Ziel defending their position and further requested that Bednark provide his emails and correspondence to validate his claims.     
When the board members met again Feb. 25, they determined that in fact, Ford and Traskos and Post Smythe Lutz and Ziel were not involved in the planning of the change in banks and that Bednark's claims were incorrect and not an accurate reflection of the situation.
The total fees of $9,450 which included the $3,062 Bednark disputed, were approved by a 5-0 vote of the township board for payment to the accounting firm.
Bednark did not attend the Feb. 25 meeting