Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released an audit of Camden County that detailed lack of oversight and failure to follow policies to ensure efficient use of taxpayer dollars throughout county government. Auditor Galloway also released a separate audit of the Camden County Collector’s Office, which is required by law when a vacancy occurs in a county collector’s office. Both reports received overall ratings of “fair”.
“Throughout Camden County government, we made recommendations to ensure taxpayer dollars are used effectively and efficiently,” Auditor Galloway said. “The county often had policies on the books that would have required checks and balances, but those policies were not consistently enforced or followed. That means county officials could miss potentially questionable or inappropriate spending.”
The audit recommended the county improve reimbursement processes and do a better job of following policies related to purchasing. That includes ensuring there is documented review and approval when the county pays invoices or reimburses employees for purchases. The audit also recommended more consistent oversight of credit card purchases and usage.
The audit detailed a situation in which a county employee was reimbursed $6,816 for various items, such as a laptop, cell phone accessories, and firearm accessories, purchased outside of the normal procurement process. The items were picked up by the employee or shipped to the employee’s residence.
The audit also found that the county did not always solicit bids for purchases over $6,000 as required. Auditors reviewed 15 such purchases totaling more than $700,000 and found commissioners approved the expenditures, even though they were not competitively bid.
The county also has weaknesses related to payroll. Employees were allowed to accrue vacation and compensatory leave in excess of the maximum allowed and leave balances were not always accurate. Additionally, the audit recommended better oversight of payroll duties to ensure related expenses are accounted for properly.
The audit also identified a lack of financial oversight across several county offices and departments. Recommendations for the sheriff, prosecuting attorney, public administrator recorder of deeds and county clerk offices related to the need for better accounting practices. In several county departments, internal processes need improvement to ensure funds are properly transmitted to the county treasurer within a reasonable timeframe.
The audit of the county was requested by the County Commission.
A separate audit of the Camden County Collector and Property Tax System found significant weaknesses with the computerized property tax system. User access was not properly restricted, allowing multiple office staff to make changes to individual tax records and delete receipts. The system does not generate the system reports needed for adequate oversight and changes to property tax records were not properly reviewed and approved. The audit also recommended better oversight of property tax records and improved accounting processes within the county collector’s office.