Audit Follow-Up Finds $231K Violation By Fire District Unresolved

Chesterfield: All but one audit recommendation from State Auditor Tom Schweich about Monarch Fire Protection District's 2010 expenses were addressed, a follow-up review finds.

Early retirement incentives for Monarch Fire Protection District employees deemed unconstitutional have yet to be addressed, indicates State Auditor Tom Schweich's staff in a June follow-up review of the .

Schweich's staffers released an audit of the district's 2010 expenses, rating Monarch a "C" in its performance. The audit cited:

  • $231,000 worth of early retirement incentives in violation of the Missouri Constitution
  • A $26,000 service awards banquet
  • Sunshine Law violations
  • Other questionable practices.

All but one of the resulting recommendations—retirement incentives—from Schweich's office were partially or totally implemented, per the follow-up review conducted in June. The audit also indicated state staffers believe Monarch paid excessive health, vacation, and sick leave benefits to the retiring employees.

In the follow-up report, Monarch board members were cited as saying they would be more diligent in overseeing future retirement incentives, although they declined to commit to banning incentives.

Since the audit, district representatives responded to question marks about whether Monarch's pension attorney may have overcharged the district by approximately $4,300, as a result of not having a written agreement documenting the hourly rate. Monarch officials now have obtained proposals for general counsel services, which include personnel legal issues that were previously handled by a different attorney. Monarch now has a contract
that outlines approved billing rates.

Schweich staffers will continue to publish an annual status report to track implementation of audit recommendations.

To view the 5-page, follow-up audit report, click here.  

Monarch Fire PD covers Chesterfield, and parts of Wildwood, Clarkson Valley, Maryland Heights, Creve Coeur, Ballwin and unincorporated West St. Louis County. Resident taxes pay for the district.

Chesterfield Patch Editor Jean Whitney contributed to this article.


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