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Chillicothe News - Chillicothe, MO
  • State auditor gives county ‘good’ rating

  • Missouri State Auditor Thomas A. Schweich’s office released its routine audit of Livingston County today (Tuesday), making a few suggestions but issuing an overall “good” rating.
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  • Missouri State Auditor Thomas A. Schweich’s office released its routine audit of Livingston County today (Tuesday), making a few suggestions but issuing an overall “good” rating.
    The “good” designation means that the audit results indicate that the county is well managed. The report contains few findings, and the entity has indicated that most or all recommendations have already been, or will be, implemented. In addition, if applicable, many of the prior recommendations have been implemented.
    The audit is part of the state’s regularly-scheduled audit that is conducted for 3rd Class counties every four years. Livingston County is one of 89 3rd Class counties in the state. The audit year was 2012.
    Harry Otto, who worked on Livingston County’s audit, stated that  in at least nearly three years, he could not recall any county receiving an “excellent” rating. The state can also issue ‘fair’ and ‘poor’ audit ratings.
    Areas addressed in Livingston County’s audit included the sheriff’s controls and procedures, credit cards, the county collector-treasurer’s procedures, and compensation.
    The audit stated that the sheriff’s office does not adequately segregate accounting duties, and the sheriff does not provide adequate oversight of financial functions and records. The office manager does not timely deposit all receipts. The audit also found that the sheriff is charging an additional, unauthorized sex offender registry fee not allowed by state law. In addition, the sheriff has been depositing these funds into the inmate security fund, rather than the General Revenue Fund.
    The sheriff replied that due to the closing of the county jail, a decrease in the volume of activity, and a decrease in collection points, his office is now making deposits more timely and ensuring deposits are made intact. As for the additional sex offender registry fee, the sheriff stated that the matter was corrected the same day that the auditor brought the matter to the sheriff’s attention, and the $1,800 was transferred to the General Revenue Fund.
    The audit stated that the County Commission approves the sheriff’s credit card statements for payment without adequate documentation for some charges. For the six statements that audit staff reviewed, documentation was missing for 13 of 76 transactions, totally $1,449 of the $6,788 spent.
    The commission reported that it would develop a policy by Jan. 1, 2014, that supporting documentation will be obtained for all charges on credit card statements.
    As discussed in several prior audit reports, the county collector-treasurer does not prepare a monthly list of liabilities and reconcile the list to the available cash balance. The reconciliation performed at the auditor’s request revealed that the cash balance exceeded liabilities by $769.
    The collector’s response was that the collector is now comparing the reconciled balance to liabilities monthly and has identified most of the difference.
    Page 2 of 2 - The auditor found that the county made additional salary payments of $300 to each full-time employee in February and March 2011, which may violate the Missouri Constitution prohibition against additional discretionary pay to government employees and officials, the audit report stated. The auditee responded by stating that the commission would discuss the situation with the county’s attorney and will ensure future employees’ compensation is in compliance with state law.
    Because counties are managed by several separately-elected individuals, an audit finding made with respect to one office does not necessarily apply to the operations in another office, the audit report stated. The overall rating assigned to the county is intended to reflect the performance of the county as a whole. It does not indicate the performance of any one elected official or county office.
    A detailed report is available at www.auditor.mo.gov.

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