Antrim welcomes new auditor, freezes pay


Write-in votes added a new member to the Antrim Township Board of Auditors. Malcolm 'Mack' Neikirk took his place beside Brian Kirkpatrick and William Needy Jan. 5 during their organizational meeting.

Neikirk, with experience in insurance and financial businesses, said he was notified Sunday, Nov. 1, about the vacant seat and conducted a write-in campaign at the polls on Nov. 3. Franklin County records indicate 82 names were scribed on the ballots, and Neikirk recalled receiving over 30 votes. He will serve for six years.

Kirkpatrick was elected chairman, Neikirk vice chairman and Needy secretary of the three-member board. Kirkpatrick has been an auditor since 2003 and Needy since 2004.

One responsibility of the board is to set wages for any supervisor employed by the township. James Byers, Fred Young III and Rick Baer are second call snowplow operators. Historically, the Board of Auditors matches the hourly rate paid the roadmaster. This year they broke with tradition to follow the lead of the supervisors, who froze salaries of township employees due to the economy. While the roadmaster was one of two employees who did receive a raise, to $21.50 per hour, the auditors agreed to keep the plowing pay at $20.50 for the supervisors.

"In lieu of their action on staff salaries, we can keep this at 2009 rates," said Needy. "We concur with the initiative the supervisors have taken and apply it to this situation, too."

They also set the mileage rate for supervisors using their personal vehicles at 50 cents, the same as last year.

The elected auditors to date had been unaware they were eligible for compensation for attending meetings. Township secretary/treasurer Mary Klein had notified them of the provision in the municipal code. Kirkpatrick and Needy had never submitted bills for time or travel costs. All three agreed to waive payment, currently $10 per hour, but planned to have a line item added to each year's agenda so future board members could decide for themselves.

No thanks

Antrim administrator Brad Graham asked the board members to consider serving on a Finance Committee. The contracted auditing firm Boyer and Ritter had suggested Antrim have a third party review bank statements. Graham also wanted a committee to assist him and Klein in reviewing investments, budgets, expenses and other financial matters, prior to making recommendations to the entire township board.

He had presented the idea to the supervisors and they turned him down, asking instead that the auditors get involved. He added that the supervisors approved the time as reimbursable.

The auditors sought clarity on exactly what Boyer and Ritter wanted them to be looking for. Needy said in his previous employment he saw every invoice, while Graham said he only approved those over $1,000. The supervisors approved all bills.

While Neikirk liked the concept of a Finance Committee, none of the auditors was interested in checking bank statements unless there was a valid purpose. They added they did not have the spare time likely required and also did not want to be "on the hook" if they didn't catch something amiss.