Warren County government went a year without audit findings … almost.
“Everybody wants to know about findings, but we basically had none that we introduced,” said Steve Reeder, state auditor. “The only finding we included in the audit was as a result of the investigative report from the Comptroller regarding the EMS situation. We had to report that in our audit report because it occurred during the year. We were about to issue a report with no findings.”
Counties without audit findings are a rare occurrence, says Reeder.
“I know of it happening twice,” he said. “When we do that, a lot of fanfare is made because it doesn’t happen much. We did have a lot of items we discussed with officials, but nothing rose to the level of findings. They could rise to the level of findings if they are not taken care of. Warren County, in our opinion, and we don’t get to say this in the report but we can say it out loud, is doing a good job overall.”
The information was presented during a county Audit Committee before members Wayne Cantrell, chair, Emily Horton, Danny Martin and Randy England. Absent was Ken Martin.
During last year’s audit finding report, Reeder presented issues pertaining to the offices of County Clerk, Register of Deeds, and Sheriff not spreading certain duties adequately. In each department, only one person oversaw the financial bookkeeping, which could lead to accounting errors or the possibility of misappropriated funds.
“Having one person is fine, as long as a second person reviews the accounting,” said Reed. “The first thing people think of is fraud. However, what we see more of is errors. Errors happen a lot more than fraud.”
All those departments now have more than one person overseeing bookkeeping and Cantrell expressed his appreciation.
“I would like to express my appreciation to all department heads for the work they’ve done in segregating those duties,” said Cantrell. “Maybe we should send out a memo to all those department heads expressing our appreciation.”
Committee members unanimously approved drafting a letter of appreciation.
Reeder suggested the committee focus its attention on the county’s financial future and not negative findings in the audit report.
“Because there aren’t many findings, this committee should focus a lot more of its attention on the financial statements as a whole. Where do we go from here and how can we be more stable? How can we do better in the future? It’s not all about the findings, it’s about where the county is headed.”
The county Audit Committee meets annually to review the state’s audit.