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Judge Greene reflects on Fiscal Court audit

By Eugenia Jones

McCreary County Judge Executive Jimmie “Bevo” Greene recently met with “The Voice” to discuss the findings of Fiscal Court’s latest audit which was released by State Auditor Mike Harmon.  State law requires annual audits of county fiscal courts.

Photo By Derek Dobbs

“We are the largest county government entity with the largest budget so naturally we are going to get the spotlight,” Judge Greene noted.  “Auditors have a job to do, and I understand that.  The things we were cited for were mistakes-no embezzlement, no gains for anyone-just honest mistakes.  No one is perfect.  We do the best we can to correct mistakes, but we will never be perfect.”

During the discussion, Judge Greene and his staff elaborated with details concerning the findings of the audit.

Finding 1-The payroll account was not properly reconciled.  Finance Officer Randy Jones noted recommendations to set up a new payroll account and implement monthly reconciliations will be followed.

Finding 2-The Fiscal Court does not have proper purchase and procurement procedures.  Judge Greene noted his office has stressed repeatedly the urgency of obtaining properly completed purchase orders and obtaining receipts at the point of purchase.  Judge Greene plans to hold a department head meeting to reiterate proper purchasing procedures, noting that employees may have to assume responsibility for cost of purchases if proper procedures are not followed.  Judge Greene noted it is sometimes difficult to pay all bills within thirty days due to timing with the monthly Fiscal Court meeting.  

Finding 3-Fiscal Court did not have sufficient internal control procedures over credit card disbursements.  Judge Greene replied to this finding by stating Fiscal Court has gone to on-line payments in an effort to correct this problem.  Finance Officer Randy Jones stated that most, if not all, payments which erroneously included sales tax were with Amazon.  In these situations, Jones said the costs of Amazon purchases with sales tax were cheaper than purchasing through another vendor without paying tax.  (The county is tax-exempt and should not pay sales tax.)  Jones said he is contacting Amazon to see if tax exempt purchases can be made through the company.

Finding 4-The Fiscal Court did not segregate duties over accounting functions.  Judge Greene remarked the county cannot afford to pay more staff.  The auditors recommend hiring or assigning an individual to oversee this area.  Judge Greene said this audit finding seems to be common throughout the state.

Finding 5-The Fiscal Court did not have sufficient monitoring or internal controls over the revolving loan program.  The County’s revolving loan program has been in existence since 1994 and has seen infractions over the past twenty years.  Judge Greene noted that his administration has worked to clean up the revolving loan program by enforcing loan repayments and requiring liens on the loans.  Auditors found multiple payments in multiple businesses could not be accounted for within loan records, resulting in records reflecting outstanding balances higher or lower than owed.  According to Economic Director Nathan Nevels, who oversees the revolving loan program, these errors were due to corrupted electronic files.  Nevels stated the accounts were balanced out when master copies of the files were used.

Judge Greene noted the amount of work done during his administration to “clean up” the revolving loan program and specifically noted the enforcement of collecting payments due and requiring security from loan applicants prior to receiving loans.  

“Since some of the loans go back thirty years, the auditors told us we would continue to be cited every year unless we drop the program,” Judge Greene stated.

Finding 6-The Fiscal Court did not budget two funds (Marsh Creek Waterline Replacement Project Fund & OVC Expansion Project.)  Inclusion of these types of funds are required in the overall Fiscal Court budget even though the funds are designated for specific projects (e.g. Community Development Block Grants) and just “pass through” the Court.  According to Judge Greene, the problem has been corrected.  Finance Officer Jones said records for the project funds had been maintained in a ledger separate from the electronic county budget.  According to Jones, separate accounting in a ledger had previously been allowed for these types of projects and funds.  Jones stated funds of this nature will be kept on computer software and included in the county’s overall budget in the future.  

Finding 7-The Fiscal Court did not prepare an accurate schedule of expenditures of federal awards (2020-21.)   According to Treasurer Geraldine Laxton, this finding resulted when the schedule required adjustments.  Judge Greene noted the problem has been corrected.

Judge Greene urges anyone with questions to contact his office.

“Anyone is free to come up here at any time and check our records,” Judge Greene commented.  “I do appreciate “The Voice” for coming to us for more input on the audit.  We want to be transparent.  We are trying our best to make life better in our county.”

Photo by Derek Dobbs

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