Mars president wanted MIU IV director fired
April 28, 2013

GROVE CITY — J. Dayle Ferguson, president of the Mars School Board, wanted the Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV board to fire the Unit IV executive director who resigned over credit card irregularities.

Ferguson is on the Unit IV board.

After a two-month investigation led by its solicitor Timothy McNickle, the unit’s board voted 11 to 1 Wednesday to accept Cecelia Yauger’s resignation.

“I made the statement publicly,” Ferguson said

Friday. “Given the evidence I felt that a termination was more appropriate than a resignation.”

She declined to give details about the credit card charges, saying a forensic audit ordered by the board would clarify the irregularities.

The Mercer County District Attorney and the Grove City Police said they are waiting for a complaint before investigating Yauger’s activities.

“Normally, the police do an investigation. They may file or not file charges,” said Robert Kochems, Mercer County district attorney.

The police in Grove City, where the intermediate unit is located, had no complaint as of Friday afternoon.

McNickle said he would notify law enforcement authorities following the end of his internal investigation, but he did not identify a time line for the notification.

The investigation into Yauger’s credit card use began after MIU IV received a right-to-know request from Antoinette Oliver, a Pittsburgh attorney with the firm of Meyer Unkovic & Scott. McNickle said he did not know who Oliver’s client is, and Oliver could not be reached for comment.

Mark Turnley of Ambridge, who is the certified public accountant who has audited the MIU IV’s finances for the past eight to nine years, was surprised by the turn of events.

“Bills were paid without receipts and that was odd,” he said Friday. “The accounts payable department had not acted in that way.”

Turnley speculated copies of credit card bills, rather than receipts, may have been attached to invoices.

“In my years of experience with the intermediate unit they appeared to have good (internal) controls,” he said.

Turnley’s audits reviewed more than $60 million of expenditures annually, he said. Balance sheet audits typically do not include a search for the misappropriation of funds, he said.

His firm ensured that expenses of $25,000 or more have appropriate documentation and comply with state and federal regulations.

Invoices below $25,000 check by random sampling, he said.

“Based on that random sampling, (I felt) that internal controls are good at the IU,” he said.

Following Yauger’s resignation, Angelo Pezzuolo of New Castle was named interim executive director. Pezzuolo was the executive director from 1992-2007, before Yauger was promoted to the position.

The MIU IV runs education programs for 27 school districts in Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties.

In Butler County it covers the Butler, Karns City, Mars, Moniteau, Seneca Valley, Slippery Rock and South Butler school districts and the Butler Vocational-Technical School.