Source: Sherman Publications

Copier issue draws ire of township officials

by David Fleet

March 20, 2013

Atlas Twp.-On Monday night the board of trustees put to rest a controversy over the sale and return of a township copier.

The concern was first expressed during the Feb.19 board of trustees meeting. Township Clerk Tere Onica reported to the board a leased Xerox copier was sold by Supervisor Shirley Kautman-Jones to her daughter for $250, without the approval or knowledge of the board.

“This was an opportunity to provide full disclosure as a person making discovery to report an improper transaction,” said Onica.

The township was in a long-term lease of the Xerox copier and in October 2012 had sought to contract with Premier Copy Service for a new machine. In an effort to expedite the change, Premier offered to deduct $1,429.89 from the cost of a new copier if they would buy out the Xerox contract.

“They (Premier) offered us a concession to drop Xerox,” said Onica.

The new copy machine was delivered and the old Xerox machine remained at the township. On Nov. 16, Stephanie Jones, the daughter of Shirely Kautman-Jones, came into the township office with $250 cash to purchase the Xerox for a fundraiser for Adopt-A-Pet, a non-profit organization. Onica was out of the office at the time of the transaction and the money was received by Township Treasurer Ann Marie Slagle

Jones contends that once the buy-out was made, Xerox had no further interest in the copy machine.

However, a Xerox representative contacted the township on Dec. 5, 2012 and requested a meter reading regarding the number of copies produced on the machine.

“I realized the copy machine was gone when I received a bill for $174 and the machine was not here—the payment was $129.99 per month. The difference was the amount of copies estimated,” said Onica. “The buy-out was not executed and the copy machine was still the property of Xerox for the remainder of the contract.”

The Xerox copy machine was returned to the township on Feb. 20.

Following the Feb. 19 meeting Onica contacted Adopt-A-Pet to send a reimbursement check for $250. They said they did not have a Xerox copy machine, rather, a Ricoh copy machine.

Jones said Township Attorney David Lattie was aware of the location of the Xerox copy machine.

On Monday night the board approved a check to Stephanie Jones for $193.76 for the Xerox copy machine. A total of $56.24 was deducted for the copies made during the time when the machine was not in the possession of the township.

“It was a major misunderstanding and it has been rectified,” said Jones. “Any copies that were made have been paid for—the Xerox copy machine is sitting here in the township office.”