Why We Need Change In The Winona Lake Clerk-Treasurer’s Office
During the last couple weeks, I have had multiple meetings with concerned members in the community regarding the current state of the Town of Winona Lake’s clerk-treasurer’s office and for the financials of the town. I’m a natural person to take these meetings because I was the clerk-treasurer for several years. Running this office does require dedication, integrity and effective communication skills, but it is not a complicated office.
An effective clerk-treasurer needs to make sure that members of the town council and the department directors have accurate and timely financial information so that they may perform their roles for the town effectively. It is truly a service role for the town. Unfortunately, this is not happening today.
There are at least five basic problems that caught my attention:
- The year-end closing of the 2022 financials was late and filed with errors.
The State of Indiana required municipalities to close and report their year by Feb. 28, 2023. The report was filed last week.
- An important grant for the Winona Lake Park is delayed because the grantor required fourth quarter 2022 and first quarter 2023 reports to be included in the application process. Without 2022 being properly closed, there are no reports to provide. This could lead to future grants being at risk.
- Payroll has been late three times in 2023 and has been inaccurate several times.
When employees approached the treasurer, instead of reissuing the paycheck, she inappropriately offered cash to make up the difference.
- Healthcare withholdings have been inaccurate for at least one employee.
Again, when confronted with the issue, instead of fixing the mistake in the system, she inappropriately offered cash to make up the difference.
- Vendors have not received payment from work performed in 2022.
One actually sent a 60-day late notice.
The Town of Winona Lake deserves a treasurer who is detail-oriented, fiscally responsible and committed to transparency, accountability and proper reporting. The town’s employees deserve to be paid on time with their benefits managed appropriately. And the residents of the Town of Winona Lake deserve a clerk-treasurer they can trust.
On May 2, I will be voting for Heather James for clerk-treasurer.