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Missing NSF checks/Is the past treasurer accountable for?

20 years 10 months ago #57605 by Elmer
Oh Sandra, I so feel for you. I ran across something like this beginning of last school year. The previous Treasurer of a school in our district totally "destroyed" (as she put it), all paperwork, receipts, statements etc. We don't think she stole anything, but she made it look mighty fishy. I, of course could not figure out why a person with any common sense would destroy previous records unless they were stealing.
Unlike your past Treasurer, who I believe was stealing, this person was just plain careless. And the reason she was careless is that she did not have GUIDELINES. My husband pointed this out to me by asking me "How did she know to keep these records?" "Were there any written procedures for her to follow?" "Not everyone has the same common sense that you do".
This was our "Lightbulb" moment. Unfortunately it takes something like this to get things more organized. During this past year, I have been taking notes to help set up forms, guidelines, signature procedures, and even audits reports for each of our schools. Some people thought I was being too anul and untrusting. But I felt these measures were meant to not only cover my butt, but everybody else's as well.
The best guidelines I have seen are from the "PTO Today Treasurers Report".(No I don't work for the magazine). Each school Treasurer has copies from the past 5-6 issues. They confirm everything I have been suggesting to our Board and then some. Don't ever assume that people know how to do even the simplist things. And keeping the lines of communication open to all "silly" questions, also helps.
If this loss of money makes your PTO more
organized and in financial control, consider it a loss well spent. In the future, I would keep an eye on this lady and her friend. Maybe they should be required to pay for everything in cash just as a little reminder.
21 years 2 weeks ago #57604 by Publisher
As an FYI, I'd check with the bank to make sure there were actually NSF checks. That should be an easy check, as I'm sure there are fees associated with NSFs.

My paranoid brain is thinking that telling you that several checks were NSF is a pretty convenient way to cover up lost/stolen funds. Fundraiser comes in $1000 short and treasurer can say that 3 checks totaling $1,000 were NSF.

Just a thought.

Agree with everyone that the time for all groups to put effective controls in place is now, and I won't even include a plug for our newest NPN Expert Guide called "PTO Dollars and Sense" ( www.ptotoday.com/npn ).

:)
21 years 3 weeks ago #57603 by SandraK
Thanks for the advice. We are in the process of rebuilding and resetting bylaws. We are also working out a new process for handling checks. I appreciate everyones responses. I am the new treasurer of this group, the President and I are working hard to get a fresh new start, so this money problem never happens again.

As a group, we are all very upset about the loss of money from this fundraiser. It makes the PTO as a whole look bad. At this point, I think we need to press forward and make sure it never happens again.

I didn't mean to sound like an ogre out for blood with this past treasurer, someone stole money from our kids, and that is a crime. It makes me angry and sad to know people do such things.
21 years 3 weeks ago #57602 by mykidsmom
Like the others, I'm not sure what kind of advise I can offer as far as getting the cash bck but I can offer to you how we handle checks (it's a pain but it works).

Our account is kept by the school, so any bad checks they handle but in the meantime for our records we copy everything. We make a copy of every check, deposit slip, request for payment, etc. What ever happens in our account, there are always two copies (oops, three) our original, the Prez copy, and the tres. copy. I personnaly felt terrible when my son drew me a pretty picture in the PTO ledger which was fixable but I can understand things happen.

I suppose if you want to play dirty you could gather up what you do have on this gal and take it to the police and see what it would take to get the other documents. Or you could all dress in black and sneak into the house....sorry, we had movie night this weekend.....Menzy Mom had it pretty close, it's time to rebuild and introduce some strong bookkeeping guidlines (it's why our account is held by the school--the principal has been there done that). Thank goodness for the summer! If you turn these into by-laws your best bet is to draw up the wording your board feels comfortable with, submit it to your membership, make needed corrections,vote, done. Yeah, by October (lol) it might be done but well worth it.

You know...if she is still with the school all it will take is if for her to say too much to one mom, theft is theft but to brag about it...stupid.
21 years 3 weeks ago #57601 by TheMetzyMom
Sounds like you need to start fresh with a new treasurer, new proceedures and maybe even a fresh attitude. Sounds like you are out for this gal's blood. She may not have done things the way you would have, but apparently she did enough good to stay in office for 3 years. Lighten up for your sake and for hers. Bitterness accomplishes nothing.

As for the money, say goodbye unless you can prove she stole it, or that she did something unethical. Take this time to tighten up the bylaws. An audit may tell you how much is missing, but pinning it on one person may be pretty tough. You should hold the entire Board accountable, not just her. If money didn't make it into the bank, it could just as easily be someone else's fault as well. Seems to me it is a moot point though. Make sure that money is always handled by more than one person, that no one is left alone with it EVER. NSF checks (as well as all other checks) should never be taken home, instead being left in a safe at school (or where ever your PTO office is). Money from fundraisers should never be counted by just one person, carried by one person, etc.

Good Luck!
21 years 3 weeks ago #57600 by SandraK
Your right Critter, we need to do some serious record keeping! No, I believe this former Treasurer has taken some money and is not turning over the NSF checks because her friend is the one the wrote the $300+ bad check. She will not give us the past bank statements either. I think there is a big cover up going on, and sadly we can't prove a thing. She also walked away from the PTO competely about 3 months ago, after this group had been her "baby" for the past 3 years. She has been a control freak that had all the other members scared and no one would speak up against her. Good thing the NEW PTO board is not afraid of her. [img]smile.gif[/img]
Thanks again for your help.
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