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The Ohio State Auditor's Office has released an audit this week of South East Area Transit (S.E.A.T.) in Zanesville for year 2010, and indicates there were some serious problems.
According to the report, the 55 issues ranged from an employee claiming clothing re-imbursement that exceeded a set limit, to the use of public monies illegally to purchase wine at a benefit dinner. There were also issues with grants, pay rates and increases, and a charter service. The audit also found that the bus system did not file its 2010 annual report with the State Auditor's Office, which is required by Ohio Revised Code. Howard Stewart has been Transit Director of the bus authority for only five weeks and said he and his board are working to fix the mistakes made under past management.
"I am learning at 110 miles an hour and it's all new to me. I come from a background of a non-profit. But we're taking steps to do the right thing and get S.E.A.T. back on course and we're heading in the right direction," said Stewart.
Muskingum County Commissioners Steve Strauss and Jim Porter said the county does provide some funding to the bus system, but it has been cut from 40,000 dollars a few years ago to 10,000 each of the last two years. They said they feel the current board and executive director are moving in the right direction and will continue to provide funding if things improve. Mayor Jeff Tilton said it is council's decision, but he agrees as long as improvement continues, the city will continue its 80,000 dollar allotment.