Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway issued an audit of the government of Putnam County giving it an overall performance rating of “fair.”
Many of the concerns identified have been raised in prior audits of the county. Auditor Galloway said. “Public officials must ensure appropriate levels of review and oversight are in place when their offices are dealing with sensitive information and public dollars.” Auditor Galloway raised concerns with the amount of time it takes for victims to receive money awarded to them in a court case, even after the money is paid to the prosecuting attorney’s office.
The audit identified about $3,000 in compensation due to injury or loss that had not been passed along to victims in six separate cases, even though the office had the money in possession for at least three years, and in some cases, for more than a decade. Auditors pointed out similar concerns in the county’s two prior audit reports.
The audit found the sheriff was not keeping inventory records of e-cigarettes or phone cards kept at the jail. The items are available for inmates to purchase, but without accurate inventory records, these items, and the money they bring in, are more likely to be lost or stolen. In addition, inmate money is not appropriately tracked or kept in a separate account, and inmates don’t get receipts when they make deposits or purchases, which can make it difficult to ensure money is safeguarded and to reduce the risk of loss or theft.
Other issues relate to accounting controls in various offices. Auditors recommended additional checks and balances over financial transactions for the sheriff, prosecuting attorney and county assessor. They also determined Putnam officials should increase cyber security measures to protect county records from unauthorized access.
The audit initially included a review of Putnam County Hospital, but due to the concerning nature of the some of the findings, auditors will complete additional work as part of a separate audit focused solely on hospital finances and operations.
The county hospital audit will be released at a later date.
The full audit is available online here.