published Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Audit of Polk County shows ‘numerous accounting problems’

A report from the state Comptroller’s Division of County Audit shows “numerous accounting problems” in accounting and record-keeping practices in Polk County, according to a release from the state agency.

The annual audit released today contains 19 findings and recommendations for improvement, some involving basic safeguards needed to protect against fraud, waste and abuse, officials say.

The Offices of County Executive and Director of Accounts and Budgets had the highest number of findings, with a total of 14, officials said in the release.

The offices spent more money than the Polk County Commission had approved. They also accrued vacation leave balances for employees of the offices that exceeded the maximum amount of leave allowed under the county’s personnel policy, the release states.

The Office of Director of Schools also spent more than approved by the County Commission, the audit said.

Officials stated that, in eight different offices within county government, responsibilities for money collection, handling and record-keeping were not properly separated, and in four different offices, multiple employees operated out of the same cash drawers.

“As is the case in medicine, preventative practices in accounting can head off serious problems,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said in the release. “When basic accounting principles are ignored or improperly applied, then it creates an environment where waste, fraud or abuse of public funds can occur.”

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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