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Monday, June 9, 2014

Fairfield releases Veight investigation report

In May 2012, I submitted an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request to Fairfield regarding an alleged investigation into former Township Administrator Joseph Veight.  In my request I noted that "rumors were swirling" that Veight was being investigated for something.  On May 13, 2012, then Administrator Leo Selb denied my request stating:
this matter is currently a personnel matter under investigation regarding Joseph Veight. I will have our clerk, Carla Smith confirm this in a response to your OPRA request as well. As soon as it is legally possible the matter under investigation will be released accordingly.
In January 2014, after a year and a half had elapsed, I re-requested the same information concerning the alleged investigation.  After some foot-dragging, the Township finally, on May 30, 2014, mailed me some documents regarding the investigation.  I have placed those documents on-line here.

While a bit difficult to understand, the documents reveal Selb's findings that:
  1. Veight, under a severance agreement, received a $25,000 lump sum payment when he separated from the Township's employ on January 31, 2012.
  2. The Township reported the $25,000 as pension salary even though only $8,333 of that amount was pension salary.
  3. In 2010, a manual check was issued to Veight to replace a $2,509.26 check that was marked as having been voided.  Subsequent analysis showed that $2,509.26 check was not in fact voided but was deposited by Veight.  Veight also had deposited the manual replacement check.
  4. Veight had deposited checks totaling $3,227.52 that he was not eligible to receive.
  5. On April 5, 2012, after discussion of the $3,227.52 was "out in the community," Veight gave Township Solicitor John Carr a check for $2,509.26 as partial refund of the $3,227.52.  On the same day former Mayor Ben Byrd gave Selb another $360 check that "he had been instructed to give" to Selb even though "he was not sure exactly what it was for."
  6. Despite the two refund checks, Veight still owed the Township $358.26.  On May 22, 2012, Cumberland County Assistant Prosecutor John Jesperson indicated that his office "was not interested in pursuing this investigation with criminal charges."  Also, Cumberland County Internal Affairs Investigator Cuff said that he "could not assist with this investigation."
  7. Former Township CFO Judson Moore, who now serves as Mayor of Commercial Township, reported that he had caught the error regarding the check "during a reconcile of the payroll bank account."  The auditor, however, conceded that he "missed" the error when he did the 2010 audit.