July 24, 2014

Medina
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Former Medina superintendent’s vacation payout blamed on clerical error

State auditors found former Medina Superintendent Randy Stepp incorrectly was paid nearly $4,000 for cashing in vacation time in the spring of 2012 above his allotted amount.

The district’s annual audit, released Thursday, found Medina Schools incorrectly paid Stepp $3,725 for five traded-in vacation days that went beyond the 15 days allowed in his contract.

According to the audit, Stepp paid the money back to the district on Jan. 8.

Randy Stepp

Randy Stepp

The audit said Stepp was paid for 20 vacation days during the 2011-12 school year. His contract required that he only could be paid at a per-diem rate for up to 15 days. The unused vacation days were paid at a per-diem rate: 10 days were paid out in August 2011, five days on Jan. 6, 2012, and another five days on March 30, 2012.

School board President Tom Cahalan, who was appointed to the board in March 2013 and elected to a seat in November, said the payout likely was a clerical error.

“When the results were given to him, he wrote up a check and sent it in,” Cahalan said of Stepp.

Stepp has since been replaced by interim Superintendent Dave Knight.

Cahalan said nobody currently working for the district knows why the extra payout was made, but said checks and balances are now in place to prevent incorrect payouts in the future.

“Right now the treasurer and the superintendent keep a check on each other,” Cahalan said. “The goal going forward is to continue that and I know Dave Knight is big on keeping those checks in place.”

Medina City Teacher’s Association President John Leatherman said his union reviewed a number of Stepp’s spending and fringe benefit records in the spring of 2013 after discovering perks in the superintendent’s contract that included more than $250,000 in tuition payments and payoffs of old student loans.

During that time, Leatherman said the union also had questions about Stepp’s vacation time.

“In reviewing the records, it was evident he was out of the district a lot and we often wondered how that even came close to adding up to his number of allotted vacation days,” Leatherman said.

“I feel confident this would not happen under the current board and Superintendent Dave Knight,” he said.
The audit released Thursday is an annual audit conducted by the state and not part of the special audit that partially was released in October.

In the spring, school board members placed Stepp on administrative leave, rescinded a new contract for him and asked state Auditor Dave Yost’s office to conduct the special audit into his spending.

Stepp responded by filing a lawsuit against district officials that is pending in federal court.

The board initiated termination proceedings against Stepp in October after the special audit revealed $4,121 in illegal spending — including a reimbursement Stepp authorized for a family trip to Florida during a school board conference. Stepp billed the district for mileage expenses and for a day spent at a luxury hotel with his family after the conference had ended.

Stepp is contesting the special audit in a lawsuit he filed against Yost in November.

Contact reporter Loren Genson |at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.