Auditor finds problems with county budget
By Katie Kuba
Senior Staff Writer
The West Virginia State Auditor’s Office highlighted seven problems that need to be remedied in its audit of Randolph County’s finances for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
Cara Maxson, a state auditor’s office employee, recently conducted an exit interview with the Randolph County Commission during which she reviewed each issue with commission members, who responded by detailing the measures they planned to take to fix each glitch.
– First, the auditor’s office found an insufficient segregation of duties, meaning that various jobs – such as preparing checks and reconciling bank accounts – aren’t spread out among enough different employees.
County Commissioner Mike Taylor said the problem results from budget limitations, which only allow the county to hire a certain number of employees.
“It’s something that happens every year,” he said. “Over the past few years, we have made improvements in that, but we can only hire as many people as the budget will allow.”
– The auditor’s report points to a problem with interfund receivable/payable balances, noting “the county has a significant amount of interfund receivable/payable balances, totaling $186,888.” This means that not all money coming into the county’s budget and going out of the county’s budget was assigned to a specific line item.
“It’s a bookkeeping problem of getting those accounts due and those accounts receivable in the proper line item,” Taylor said.
– Two of the seven problems can be attributed to the county contracting with a person who failed to fulfill the duties specified in his or her contract, Taylor said. Maxson said Randolph County’s annual financial statement didn’t contain a schedule of expenditures of federal awards, such as grant money.
The county also didn’t prepare and publish its annual financial statement for the 2011-2012 fiscal year within the prescribed time period.
“The individual we had contracted with failed to do that correctly,” Taylor said.
– The county commission was additionally corrected for its failure to submit a budget revision to appropriate the unexpended fund balance as of June 30, 2011 into the following year’s general fund budget.
Taylor said the rollover wasn’t appropriated into the current budget year (2012-2013) according to guidelines set out by the state auditor’s office.
– The state auditor’s office discovered that the county’s general fund contained some expenditures in excess of what had been allocated, which is a violation of state code. However, those errors didn’t cause the county to come up short.
“These overexpenditures did not cause the total levy estimate (budget) of the general county fund to be overexpended,” the auditor’s report notes.
“The money’s all there,” Maxson told the commission. “It’s just a matter of bookkeeping and getting it all in the right place.”
– Finally, the state auditor’s report said the Randolph County Sheriff’s office hadn’t maintained updated records of all conservator accounts or filed an annual account for each conservator with the Randolph County Circuit Clerk, as is mandated by state code.
In each county, the sheriff is appointed the conservator – or guardian – of the estates, property or money of deceased individuals as well as people no longer capable of managing their affairs.
Taylor noted that the errors hadn’t occurred on Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady’s watch and said that Brady was working to correct them.
Brady said, “What I have done is I have assigned a different employee to manage those accounts, and we will manage the accounts in compliance with West Virginia State Code.”
“The person who (previously) managed those conservator accounts is not an employee of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office any longer,” the sheriff added.
Taylor said the commission will work to right the wrongs auditors uncovered.
“Given the amount of funds the county handles, (it) requires some precise bookkeeping,” Taylor said. “We need to work with the elected officials and the state auditor’s office to ensure that we are putting the money in the right accounts and doing it as prescribed by the state auditor’s office.”
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.