Audit accuses Foster of over-charging Wysox Township
WYSOX TOWNSHIP - Wysox Township Supervisor and road master Gary Foster charged the township for the hours he spent making two trips to Harrisburg last year to conduct personal business, and he also double-charged for work he did on a township job on Allen Road, according to an audit of several township transactions that involved Foster.
In addition, the firm that performed the audit, Holman & Frenia, P.C., stated that it could not locate 100 feet of 6-inch pipe that Foster had ordered, which disappeared within days of being delivered to the township, according to a copy of the Holman & Frenia's report on the audit.
Jon Kulick, Wysox Township treasurer and chairman of the Wysox Township supervisors, has said that he called for the audit, and that his decision to have the audit done was supported by fellow township supervisor Bill Shoemaker, who died on Sept. 27, 2012.
The report on the audit was delivered to the Wysox Township municipal office on Friday.
When asked for comment by The Review on Tuesday, Foster spoke one or two sentences that were unintelligible and then stated "nobody stole any ... money. (I have) nothing more to say about it."
Foster then hung up.
When a reporter from The Review called Foster back later on Tuesday to give him a chance to clarify his position, Foster declined to say anything else and hung up.
The Review obtained a copy of the audit by filing a Right to Know request with the township.
The scope of work of the audit consisted of examining the following four aspects of the township's finances, all of which involved Foster, according to a copy of the audit:
- Review and analyze the purchases made by Foster at the Pennsylvania Federal Property Division Surplus store in Harrisburg
- Review Foster's role in a job completed by Wysox Township on May 29 on Allen Road
- Investigate the delivery, purpose and eventual use of 100 feet of pipe ordered by Foster on April 19
- Investigate a job completed by the township at a location on Post Road
In conducting the audit, Holman & Frenia interviewed township employees, including Gary Foster; examined timesheets, minutes of the township supervisors' meetings and invoices sent to the township; and interviewed employees of companies that supplied labor, equipment and materials for township projects.
Foster made trips to Harrisburg on June 19 and Aug. 29, and, while in Harrisburg, made purchases at the Pennsylvania Federal Property Division surplus store, according to the auditor's report.
According to the minutes of the Sept. 4 Wysox Township supervisors' meeting and an interview that Holman & Frenia conducted with Foster, "the only purpose of Foster's trips to Harrisburg (on June 19 and Aug. 29) was personal business. (Foster) stated that he was on personal time and not clocked in at the township (while he was on the trips)," according to the auditor's report.
However, records of Foster's purchases at the surplus store "verify that Foster was in Harrisburg while he was clocked in at the township," the report states.
"On June 19, 2012, Gary (Foster) clocked in at the township during the 4 a.m. hour and clocked out during the 1 p.m. hour, and was paid by Wysox Township through payroll for 9.24 hours total. He made his purchase (on June 19) at the surplus store at 9:21 a.m.," the report states. "On Aug. 29, 2012, Gary (Foster) clocked in at the township during the 7 a.m. hour and clocked out during the 2 p.m. hour, and was paid by the township through payroll for 7.19 hours. He made his purchase (on Aug. 29) at the surplus store at 11:11 a.m. The round trip travel time to Harrisburg from the township building is 6 hours and 8 minutes."
On May 29, Foster and Wysox Township employee Robert Brown worked at a job for the township on Allen Road, which included the installation of a large pipe, according to the report.
They had to hire an excavator from Jeff McIntosh Trucking Inc. to complete the Allen Road job.
McIntosh Trucking's invoice to the township for the Allen Road job included two "truck hours" at $90 per hour, and, according to McIntosh Trucking, it was Foster who operated the truck during those two hours, the report states.
Foster submitted an invoice to McIntosh for two hours that he operated a truck to haul one load of 2A stone from Windham Quarry to Allen Road, according to the report.
"Per Jen at Windham Quarry in Rome, Pa. Gary Foster picked up the stone and signed for it under McIntosh Trucking on May 29, 2012 at 8:08 a.m.," the report states. "Gary Foster clocked in on the township clock on May 29, 2012 during the 4 a.m. hour and clocked out during the 1 p.m. hour and was paid a total of 8.69 hours by the township. Gary Foster was on the township clock and was being paid by the township (for the time he spent working on the Allen Road project), and was also paid by the township through McIntosh Trucking for the same period of time."
"The township paid McIntosh Trucking $1,460 for the job on Allen Road," the report states. "Gary Foster did benefit financially from this contract. Gary Foster did not inform the board of supervisors of his involvement with this contract or refrain from voting on the payment to McIntosh."
"We found no wrong-doing by McIntosh Trucking," Frank B. Holman III, president of Holman & Frenia, wrote in an email to The Daily Review on Tuesday. Holman was one of the two CPAs at Holman & Frenia who conducted the audit.
Foster ordered 100 feet of 6-inch pipe from Chemung Supply Corp. on April 19, and it was delivered to the township on Friday, April 20, according to the report.
According to township Secretary/Zoning Officer Kurt Lafy, who signed for the delivery of the pipe after Foster confirmed that he ordered it, "the pipe was gone by Monday, April 23, and Gary Foster made comments about installing drainage around his new barn/shed over the weekend," the report states.
"Gary Foster identified a pipe on Fall Run Road as being the pipe in question, but it was a 4-inch pipe, and not the pipe we were trying to locate," the report states.
"Our investigation did not reveal the location of the missing pipe," according to the report.
Wysox Township Supervisor Kenneth Whipp said he received a copy of the report Tuesday morning and had only had a chance so far to read a little of it.
Whipp said he will be looking to the new township solicitor, Jonathan Foster Sr., for direction on the action the township should take in response to the audit.
"You don't want to accuse people of things without getting some legal advice," Whipp said.
"If action has to be taken, then it has to be taken," Whipp said.
The previous township solicitor, Scott Pellinger, had resigned in November, citing concerns that township officials might try to cover up the findings of the audit and not report them to the appropriate authorities.
"I don't know where (Pellinger) got the idea" that the supervisors might try to cover up the findings of the audit and not report them, Whipp said. "Rumors get spread around pretty quickly," Whipp said.
In an interview on Tuesday, township Solicitor Foster said he has not yet had an opportunity to discuss Holman & Frenia's report with the supervisors and will inform the media about any actions the supervisors decide to take in response to the audit.
Solicitor Foster said he is not related to Gary Foster.
The Review was unsuccessful in its attempts to obtain comment from Wysox Township Supervisor Jon Kulick for this story.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.