State Auditor: Former Elgin city clerk responsible for nearly $140K in improper payments

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 10:24 AM CST
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ELGIN, Iowa (KCRG) - State Auditor Rob Sand says former Elgin City Clerk Rhona Dales is responsible for nearly $140,000 worth of improper and unsupported payments, including payments issued to herself and personal purchases made using the city’s debit card.

In a report released Thursday, Sand said Elgin city officials requested the investigation due to concerns over financial transactions processed by former City Clerk Rhonda Dales from October 2017 through June 2021.

Sand’s investigation found $131,212.73 in improper payments and $7,531.67 in unsupported payments.

More than $100,000 worth of the improper payments were unauthorized payroll and other checks issued to Dales, along with more than $19,000 in unauthorized reimbursements and nearly $6,000 in excess insurance premium payments issued to her.

Dales served in the part-time role of city clerk from 2003 to 2021, when the city council fired her after concerns were raised that she had misrepresented herself as a full-time employee to get employee benefits.

Sand’s report also said there were also concerns over her failure to follow proper directions when processing insurance stipends and her general public conduct.

Sand’s investigation found Dales paid herself additional wages and was not entitled to full-time employee benefits. She also reportedly received additional checks for which there was no supporting documentation.

Sand recommended the city perform bank reconciliations and ensure payments are properly supported by documentation in the future.