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Disciplinary action taken against Akron employees, investigation ongoing

11/7/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

DOWNTOWN AKRON — At a press conference Nov. 1, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic announced that the fiscal audit investigation by Summit County’s Internal Audit Department and the criminal investigation by the Akron Police Department (APD) into the handling of cash transactions by employees in the city’s recreation department have turned up instances of the misuse of funds.

“Earlier this year, it came to our attention that employees at some of our recreation centers may not be handling cash transactions in accordance with our established procedures and the City Charter,” Plusquellic said in a press release. “We first notified the police and asked for an investigation into the matter, and then we entered into an agreement with Summit County internal auditors to review what had transpired.”

So far, the internal auditors, who were hired to complete a fiscal audit of the Akron Recreation Bureau and issue findings and recommendations, have released a preliminary draft report. The APD also is continuing its criminal investigation, which has uncovered some instances of employee theft, according to city officials.

As a result of Summit County’s audit and the APD’s criminal investigation, three people were identified to have taken city funds for their personal use. Those three individuals have terminated their employment with the city, and restitution is being made for those amounts taken. According to city officials, those individuals are: Kim Huskey, recreation supervisor II, who agreed to pay $6,000 in restitution; Joanne Brieding, recreation supervisor II, who agreed to pay $800 in restitution; and Nicki Taylor, a seasonal summer recreational specialist.

Additionally, the Recreation Bureau Manager, Greg Kalail, took a voluntary demotion, received 20 days’ suspension and was moved to another department.

“I made the decision early on in the investigation that if money was actually stolen, those employees involved in the theft would be terminated from employment with the city,” said Plusquellic. “Likewise, any employee who violated city procedures but did not take anything of value (i.e., money) from our citizens, would be appropriately disciplined. Although our investigations are not complete, you can see that we are taking swift action as people, crimes and misconduct are identified. … We take these matters very seriously and will continue to monitor and take appropriate measures as the dual investigations proceed.”

 

Stephanie Kist contributed to this report.

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