published Friday, December 20th, 2013

Bradley County looks good in financial audit

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County received good marks from state auditors for how it handled its finances in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

In a recent meeting, County Mayor D. Gary Davis and county Finance Director Lynn Burns reviewed highlights of the state audit with Bradley County commissioners.

"It has been shown that Bradley County's accounting and reporting standards are current and something to be proud of as we continue to correct deficiencies and tighten our controls," Davis said.

No material weaknesses and no deficiencies in internal control over major programs were found in the audit, which stated that Bradley County qualified as a low-risk auditee, Burns said.

The county's net position -- what would be considered net assets if the county was a business -- exceeded its liabilities by $27.8 million, Burns said. That's a $3 million increase over the previous year's net position of $24.8 million.

Bradley County's long-term debt was reduced by $1.1 million, the audit found.

"A lot of people say Bradley County isn't doing anything about its debt, but it's not true," Davis said.

The total long-term capital debt for the county amounted to $73.6 million. Capital education purposes account for 79 percent of that debt, with $39.64 million going to the Bradley County school system and $18.46 million going to the Cleveland school system.

Burns said commissioners in January will be asked to revise the county's credit card policy after auditors found some areas of noncompliance. The proposal will call for departments to assign people to review all credit card documentation, she said.

The purchase of about $3,314 in office equipment for personal use by a former accounts payable clerk in the Bradley County Finance Department also was addressed in the audit. The employee, who was indicted on one count of theft and one count of official misconduct, had vendors bill the county for items sent to her home.

"Management's monitoring of its internal control system led to the discovery of this incidence in a timely manner," according to audit comments.

Most of the items bought by the former employee were recovered from her home and returned to vendors, Burns said. Vendors wrote off the balance, and Bradley County took no loss resulting from the illegal activity, she said.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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