The former director of the Jones County ISU Extension Office is the subject of an investigation.
The State Auditor’s office has found Jennifer Fischer was responsible for nearly 86-thousand dollars in improper and undocumented spending in the agency. The investigation covered a four year period when Fischer was extension director from October 2016 through September 2020.
Auditors concluded she bought thousands of dollars worth of personal items with the organization’s money, including an Xbox, Amazon Prime videos, movie theater tickets, gift cards, alcohol and groceries. She also used Extension Service money to cover the costs of a trip she took to Texas with her daughter. Auditors identified more than 30-thousand dollars worth of purchases that lacked documentation, so they couldn’t determine if the expenses were for the Extension Service or personal in nature. The special investigation concludes Fischer received 17-thousand dollars worth of unauthorized payments for travel expenses, paid time off and insurance.
Fischer was placed on leave in August of 2020 after another employee raised questions about the purchase of airline tickets on the Jones County Extension Service credit card. She was fired 17 days later.
State Auditor Rob Sand is recommending Extension officials implement procedures to ensure the Extension’s internal controls are strengthened, including properly segregating duties, performing independent review of band reconciliations and ensuring all disbursements are properly supported, approved and paid in a timely manner.
story contribution courtesy of Radio Iowa