- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

BOYDEN, Iowa (AP) - More than $36,000 in improper and unsupported disbursements has been discovered during a state audit requested by the city of Boyden, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report said nearly $31,000 of the total included payroll and reimbursement payments made to the former city clerk, Beth Sipma. Other disbursements for her included city credit card payments for more than $1,300 in airline tickets; nearly $510 for a personal cellphone bill; and nearly $430 for IKEA purchases.

As city clerk, Sipma was responsible for payroll payments to herself and the rest of the city’s employees. Concerns that led to the audit were raised when the city’s bank noted in April 2015 that Sipma received more than one electronic paycheck during several months. Sipma began working in Boyden on July 1, 2013 and resigned after being asked about the payments, which she described as payroll advances, the report said.

A Sheldon phone number listed for Sipma is out of service. A message left at a cellphone listed for a Beth Sipma in Iowa wasn’t returned.

Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle said his office is investigating.

The auditors recommended that some of the city clerk’s financial and other duties be reassigned to the mayor and City Council members, who also should review periodically financial records and supporting documentation. The auditors also recommended that bank statements be delivered to an official who does not collect or disburse city funds.

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