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Kaukauna city clerk Susan Duda under fire for missteps

by
Kaukauna City Hall on April 2, 2014. (Photo from: WTAQ Reporter Jeff Flynt).
Kaukauna City Hall on April 2, 2014. (Photo from: WTAQ Reporter Jeff Flynt).

KAUKAUNA, WI (WTAQ) - Kaukauna's city clerk has come under fire over the past year for lack of organization, improper filing of records and late federal tax payments that's led to fines for the city.

The latest red flag happened during Tuesday's spring election, when about 130 voters were given incorrect ballots.

"The ballots were all on the table, but were given out off of the wrong pile. It was certainly unintentional," Kaukauna Mayor Gene Rosin says. "I'm sure the appropriate authorities will be looking into that and deciding on how they want to remedy that debacle."

But the problems surrounding the office, led by clerk Susan Duda, began to appear last September. That's after a second independent auditor, Baker Tilly, conducted an audit of the office.

"Sloppiness...and I hate to say that, but from what I'm seeing now and with the studies, that's what it looks like to me," says Rosin. 

The Times-Villager newspaper first reported on the "Internal Control Review" presented to city leaders. It detailed a, "lack of organization, storage and filing systems in the clerk/treasurer's area." They also found three areas considered, "high risk for potential misappropriation of assets, errors in financial reporting, or additional liability to the city."

The city has paid fines for Duda missing the target date of tax payments, but Rosin didn't detail how much it has cost them. He does say these independent audits are worth the investment to prevent future problems.

Rosin says based upon the recommendations outlined in that audit, along with a prior one performed by Schenck and Associates, a committee was formed to implement some procedural changes.

"We want to correct and put in place upgrading that office with perhaps higher technology, maybe additional training is needed," says Rosin.

The mayor said it's a process that started three to four months ago, and will continue to be implemented over the rest of this year. Rosin said this issue, combined with the recent election, has made it a rough ride for city hall.

"I have had residents that have asked me, what are you guys doing down there?" said Rosin. "I'm sure there have been residents that have contacted her and felt the heat through the grapevine."

Despite the publicity generated by these problems, Duda won her re-election Tuesday over challenger Glen Meyerhofer 65 to 35%. Rosin says that speaks volumes about the public's confidence that she can perform her job up to these new standards.

"Her long-term tenure down here has proven that she is capable of doing that job," says Rosin, who added they've discussed adding a second full-time person to help in the office. Currently, the Kaukauna Clerk/Treasurer's office has one full-time, one part-time and a shared employee with another city department.

 

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