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State auditor general says he's ordered closer look at Munhall pensions

| Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, 3:56 a.m.

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced on Thursday that he has ordered audits of two municipal pension plans in Munhall in light of the embattled borough's financial troubles.

Audits performed by the auditor general in 2010, 2011 and 2012 found that the borough failed to make almost $200,000 in required payments to the police pension fund, and that officials mismanaged the municipal pension plans.

“My concern for Munhall borough employees who will be counting on their pension some day and for local taxpayers is heightened by recent revelations that the borough struggled to secure a loan to pay for basic municipal services,” DePasquale said in a statement.

“Residents and employees deserve answers about the borough's financial picture and we can provide answers in matters related to the two pension plans.”

Munhall was unsuccessful in securing a tax anticipation note loan from a dozen banks because its audits from 2011 and 2012 are missing. Borough officials were planning to temporarily lay off 10 police officers and six public works employees to compensate for what interim borough manager Harry Faulk said would have been a negative-$300,000 balance at the end of March.

But council announced on Thursday that a private group lent the borough $500,000 to help it stay afloat until property taxes begin to roll in.

The missing audits led to Munhall losing approximately $350,000 over two years in county Regional Asset District money.

DePasquale said he wants to make sure the borough doesn't miss more mandatory payments to the police pension fund, or understate the payroll of non-uniformed pension plan members. Those problems were discovered during the previous audits.

“The (upcoming) audits will determine if municipal officials took appropriate corrective action to address the findings contained in prior audit reports,” DePasquale said, “and if the pension plans were administered in compliance with applicable state laws, regulations, contracts, administrative procedures, local ordinances and policies.”

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1970, or tkaran@tribweb.com.

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