How McDonald County manages its county offices was recently given a “poor” rating by the Missouri State Auditor’s office.
Thomas Schweich, state auditor, deemed the operation of many county offices as poor following an audit. The state typically audits counties which do not have a county auditor.
In his audit report, Schweich said the county needs to significantly improve operations in its prosecuting attorney, sheriff, disbursements, payroll controls and procedures, property tax system controls and procedures, county collector commissions and withholdings, and how it keeps minutes on county commission meetings.
In the prosecuting attorney office, the state audit team found accounting duties were not adequately segregated, bank reconciliations had not been performed, and procedures for receipts and for monitoring bad check dispositions need improvement.
“Receipts are not posted to the computerized accounting systems timely and intact, and the receipt dates entered were not always accurate and in sequential order,” the audit report states. “None of the five receipting systems contains a complete record of all monies received and processed, and monies received were not always deposited intact and timely. Bank reconciliations had not been performed for any of the prosecuting attorney's six bank accounts, and errors in disbursing restitution, delinquent taxes, and fees were not detected. The prosecuting attorney's office does not have adequate procedures in place to account for and monitor the disposition of all bad checks submitted for collection.”
Schweich’s office also found discrepancies in the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office, including allegations that Sheriff Rob Evenson paid himself for mileage when serving papers even when additional mileage was not incurred.
“Our review of papers served during November 2011, showed the sheriff was paid $20 in mileage fees for each of 32 paper services (or $640) when he should have only been paid mileage fees for 24 paper services because some papers were served in the same location on the same day or no mileage was incurred,” the audit report read. “Further, while the sheriff paid himself $640 in mileage fees for November 2011, we determined the mileage reimbursement would have been only $244 using the rate prescribed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and our estimate of miles driven based upon the location of papers served.”
Further allegations include that former Deputy Mike Hall — who was elected sheriff in November’s election — continues to maintain a Drug Abuse Resistance Education bank account for donations.
“According to bank records, receipts of $14,488 and disbursements of $13,596 were processed through this account during the two years ended Dec. 31, 2011,” the report read. “There is no statutory authority allowing the sheriff or his deputies to maintain this account outside the county treasury. Attorney General's Opinion No. 45, 1992 to Henderson, states sheriffs are not authorized to maintain a bank account for law enforcement purposes separate from the county treasury. In addition, it is unclear why the sheriff allows a former deputy to continue to maintain this account.”
Page 2 of 3 - The auditor recommended Evenson turn all DARE monies over to the county treasurer, ensure receipt slips or other records of donations received are maintained, and ensure adequate supporting documentation of disbursements is retained.
“This recommendation will be passed on to the new sheriff, who currently holds this account,” Evenson wrote in his response, which was included in the audit report.
The audit report also found discrepancies in disbursement procedures. For instance, bids were not solicited for numerous “big ticket” items purchased in 2010 and 2011, including:
• Road graders purchased in 2011 for $123,000;
• $110,000 in bridge construction in 2010;
• More than $52,000 in grader blades purchased in both years;
• Nearly $50,000 in building repairs;
• Just over $40,000 in road and bridge equipment repairs and maintenance in 2010 and 2011;
• Just over $32,000 for concrete during the two-year audit period;
• Nearly $32,000 for law enforcement vehicle maintenance;
• Just over $15,000 for road and bridge equipment;
• Nearly $11,500 for bridge guard rails in 2010, and;
• Nearly $10,500 for transmission repairs in 2010.
“Additionally, while county officials indicated state bids were utilized for three vehicles costing $61,655 and phone bids were obtained for bulk fuel for the road and bridge department costing $189,127, bridge drilling services costing $12,157, and rebar costing $15,113, the county did not retain documentation of the bids to show compliance with state law,” the audit report reads. “Also, according to county officials, the purchases of computer software for the assessor's office costing $19,135 and the recorder's office costing $19,443, were sole source purchases; however, this was not documented at the time of purchase. Further, the county commission did not document reasons for not selecting the low bid for the purchase of 10 global positioning systems (GPS) costing $15,840.”
The audit report also stated some county employees were not paid for overtime. For instance, the audit report indicated, county Emergency Management Director Gregg Sweeten has multiple duties and compensation rates, works over 40 hours a week and isn’t paid overtime. During March 2011, Sweeten worked 153 hours as emergency management director and was paid $2,667. He also worked another 63 hours on litter control and was paid $11 an hour.
“Because the county did not combine hours worked each week for both duties, the EM Director was not compensated at time and a half for actual hours worked in excess of 40 hours each work week. The county personnel policy and the FLSA require any time worked over 40 hours in a week (for non-emergency personnel) to be paid at time and a half.”
Further audit findings include:
• The county clerk does not prepare or verify the accuracy of the current or delinquent tax books prepared by the county assessor, neither the county clerk nor the county commission adequately reviews the activities of the county collector, and the county clerk does not maintain an account book or other records summarizing property tax charges, transactions, and changes. Taxes totaling $68,000 were outlawed and removed from the tax books by the county collector without county commission approval;
Page 3 of 3 - • The county collector did not properly calculate some commissions or withholdings. Approximately $10,500 was under-withheld from fire district and surtax collections, and approximately $7,400 was over-withheld from school districts, and;
• The county needs to improve controls and procedures over fuel use and purchases.