Two Manatee County employees being fired after audit of YMCA found fraud

skennedy@bradenton.comJuly 7, 2014 

MANATEE -- County officials have started the process of firing two long-time employees after an audit concluded the Manatee YMCA had defrauded taxpayers by falsifying information supporting payments for Y programs.

The two employees are Michael Neuges, 49, of Bradenton, and Tameka Burch Moore, 42, of Sarasota.

Neuges holds the title of human services manager, while Burch Moore is a human services analyst, according to county documents.

Last week, county officials said they would fire two workers after the audit issued Thursday concluded that Community Services Department staff members had failed to adequately monitor YMCA programs.

The audit found officials at the YMCA had defrauded Manatee County taxpayers of more than $100,000 designated for after-school and gang prevention programs.

In a press conference Saturday, however, YMCA officials said their own internal investigation had found flaws in their documentation process, but that there was no evidence as yet that fraud had occurred.

One YMCA employee, Keron Gordon, a youth sports coordinator, was fired by the Y several weeks ago after it concluded he had altered a document, YMCA attorney Shawn Arnold said Monday.

Neuges, whose annual salary is $49,275.20, was hired in 1993, and worked his way up to a managerial position, according to county employment records.

His most recent evaluations were positive; one done in March said he had exceeded expectations for knowledge of job and quantity of work, records show.

Burch Moore, whose annual salary is $36,483.20, was hired in 1996, county records said. She also has received generally positive evaluations of her work managing contract agreements between an agency and the county, documents show. In an evaluation last year, she exceeded expectations for her adaptability.

Neuges and Burch Moore did not respond to messages seeking comment Monday. Gordon could not be reached for comment.

The audit listed a number of serious deficiencies in the county's monitoring of YMCA programs. Typical was a summer program from June through August 2013.

The audit found the Manatee YMCA received $234,641.64 for programs through county agreements, but either its information was inaccurate or could not be verified with supporting documentation for $72,833.22 of the total.

"Information was also obtained which indicates that the monitoring of the YMCA agreements by Community Services Department staff was inadequate," according to the audit.

"Many errors were found in the numbers reported ... which should have been identified by contract managers," said the audit, which was conducted by the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller's office.

Nick Azzara, county information outreach manager, declined further comment Monday on the results of the audit.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.

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