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County audit has numerous findings

Published: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 9:20 p.m. CST

MORRIS – A lack of personnel, defunct technology and insufficient financial oversight caused Grundy County to have more findings than usual in its audit for fiscal 2013.

In total, Mack and Associates found the county had three significant deficiencies and two material weaknesses. Auditor Tawnya Mack reported this to the full County Board last month, but the audit will go on file at next Tuesday’s County Board meeting.

“It’s typical to have some findings and areas that need improvements,” Mack said Tuesday. “But it’s not typical to have as many material weaknesses and significant deficiencies as the county did this year.”

Mack said material weaknesses are generally more severe than deficiencies, but both indicate a lack of internal control of the county’s finances.

An underlying problem behind several of the findings was new software being used in the Grundy County treasurer’s office. The software, installed May 1, 2013, was supposed to make the accounting process work more efficiently for all county offices, but was set up incorrectly, according to Treasurer Marcy Miller.

The bad software caused several reporting errors and delayed the auditing process by about three months, Mack said.

The county has since gotten rid of the accounting software and switched back to Comtech, which is the system the county used previously.

“Our goal with changing software was we wanted each county department to have the same software the treasurer’s office has,” Miller said Tuesday. “I certainly wanted to give them what they needed to run their departments. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, but God knows we put forth a lot of effort to try and make it work.”

The new software would have helped the Grundy County Health Department, which currently has no accounting software system in place.

As a result of the software gap and other issues, the health department had several findings in this year’s audit.

According to the audit, the health department could not account for federal grant funds that were not dispersed and failed to send out 1099 tax forms to subcontractors who completed work with the county. Miller said these issues are being worked on.

Overall, Mack said the county’s lack of personnel – with several key positions left vacant for much of fiscal 2013 – also contributed to the lack of financial oversight.

One problem Mack found involved county officials not properly accounting for their mileage and reimbursements, and not turning them in within the recommended amount of time. Some officials waited as long as six months before turning in their mileage forms, Mack said.

At one point the county overbudgeted its general expenditures fund by $500,000, a mistake that would have been caught had there been a county administrator as there has been in years past to help oversee the county’s spending.

“During certain times of the year, there was no one that was really fully accountable for the some of the county’s financial statements,” Mack said.

Based on the findings, Mack made recommendations to the county, many of which are already being implemented. Aside from switching back to the old accounting software, the county has since hired a new administrator.

“We are working hand in hand to help correct these issues,” Miller said. “We all want what is best for the county.”

KNOW MORE

Findings of the Grundy County FY13 audit

Significant Deficiencies

• Financial Reporting

• Lack of segregation of duties

• Schedule of expenditures for federal award money

Material Weaknesses

• Lack of financial oversight

• Significant audit adjustments

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