The first part of the public’s look into the operations of Greene County has been released by state auditor Nicole Galloway.
Galloway has released the first of three reports into the county’s operations. The report covers all aspects of the county except for the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and the Greene County Commission, who will be receiving separate audit reports before the end of the year.
Overall, the county operations evaluated were given a “good” rating by the auditor’s office, meaning that “adult results indicate this entity is well managed.”
The report notes that because the audit covers different departments controlled by different elected officials, the report’s finding in one area may not apply to another department’s office. The overall rating is intended to reflect the county as a whole, not each individual office or individual elected official.
The audit noted a number of items that auditor Galloway felt needed action by the County:
Issues with Cash Spending
The overall report says the county showed $100.3 million in spent funds, not including payroll, during the year that ended December 31, 2018.
One of the items cited by the auditor were $15,125 spent for employee appreciation and employee recognition. Auditor Galloway called the items “questionable and/or an unnecessary” use of county funds. She pointed to over $9,200 spent on an employee appreciation day lunch and $35 gift cards given to the winners of the county’s “Top Branch” awards that honor exemplary performance by county employees.
“Public funds should be spent only on items necessary and beneficial to the county,” Galloway wrote. “County residents have placed a fiduciary trust in their public officials to spend county revenues in a prudent and necessary manner.”
The Highway Department was cited by the auditor for a violation of the Missouri Constitution in giving gift cards to employees as a Christmas bonus.
The department gave $25 gift cards, a total of $3,000, to employees at Christmas 2018. Auditor Galloway said those cards violated Article III, Section 39, of the Missouri Constitution prohibiting additional compensation for already completed services.
Prosecuting Attorney Controls and Procedures
Galloway’s report says that “controls and procedures” in the Prosecuting Attorney’s office need improvement.
The audit says that the PA has “not adequately segregated accounting duties” and “does not perform supervisory reviews of accounting and transmittal records for delinquent tax payments.”
The PA’s office staff transmitted the payments to the state Department of Revenue without a supervisor’s view. The auditor’s office recommended “segregating the duties of receiving, recording, and transmitting monies.”
The report also says that the department was not timely in transmission of monies and provided several examples:
The audit says “failure to implement adequate receipting and transmitting procedures increases the risk that loss, theft, or misuse of monies received will occur and go undetected.”
The audit also cited the PA’s office for not having a “numerical sequence of receipt slips issued for delinquent tax receipts.”
County Clerk Liquor Licenses
Galloway’s report says that County Clerk Shane Schoeller’s office “does not issue receipt slips for liquor licenses” and “does not account for the numerical sequence of liquor licenses issues.”
The county’s liquor license receipts in 2018 totaled $220,415.
The review of the county’s liquor license log could not account for 4,513 of 5,569 licenses for the year 2018. The report says the County Deputy Clerk attributed the missing numbers to closed businesses; unpaid applications; and license numbers used twice because of the business paying for 2017 and 2018 at the same time.
Auditor Galloway stated failure to have adequate receipting and liquor license procedures could increase risk of loss, theft, or misuse of monies that could go undetected.
County Treasurer Controls and Procedures
The audit says County Treasurer Justin Hill “does not deposit receipts intact, does not maintain the change fund at a constant amount, and uses the change fund for petty cash purchases and to replenish petty cash funds for other county offices and departments.”
The auditor suggested a set level of funds for the change fund, a separate account for petty cash, and reimbursement of petty cash funds through a process that gains county commission approval.
The audit also called out the County Treasurer for not limiting the Building Maintenance department’s petty cash purchases to $25 as stated in the county purchasing guide.
Galloway suggested that having a different system for petty cash purchases would provide less risk for employees and could provide a “more secure” payment method.
Greene County Responds
The Greene County Commission and office holders responded to the audit by stating they agreed with the items raised in the audit and “all have been addressed by Greene County.”
The county cited as actions taken in response to the audit:
- The suspension of the annual employee appreciation day event
- The County has eliminated purchasing gift cards as employee recognition
- More frequent deposits to limit the amount of petty cash on hand at the Treasurer’s Office
- An updated system for the issuing of numeric liquor licenses at the County Clerk’s Office
- The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office enhanced supervisory review of delinquent tax receipts, provided additional procedural training and supervision of staff responsible for disbursements, and obtained enhanced control features within the statewide case management system from the vendor.
“This audit demonstrates Greene County’s highest commitment to transparent government and the strength of the organization,” Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon said in a press release. “From the onset, we welcomed the independent evaluation of our processes and procedures, and we are pleased with the results and feedback to continually advance our operations. The Commission is especially grateful for everyone’s work and dedication to this task, especially that of our elected officials and staff. Their personal commitment to working the long and arduous hours is a yet another demonstration of their ongoing service to citizens.”
County auditor Cindy Stein, whose office was not mentioned in the report has have any deficiencies, had worked closely with the state auditor’s office to provide requested information.
We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the Missouri State Auditor’s office and we view this audit as an additional resource for the County in fulfilling our mission to be prudent stewards of taxpayer funds,” Stein said in a statement.
Galloway’s office did not indicate how close to the end of the year the two remaining audits would be released, but as of last week noted today’s report was the only one in “exit” being prepared for public release.
Here is the audit report:Greene-County-Audit-Phase-One