Officials respond to state audit’s ‘fair’ rating for county
Ozark County government was given a “fair” rating last week in an audit released by Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway.
Announcing the audit results in a news release, Galloway highlighted “several areas of concern for Ozark County officials” and offered recommendations.
Galloway said, “The responses to the audit indicate those officials are taking many of the steps that were recommended, and I encourage them to continue to move forward in order to better serve the citizens of Ozark County.”
According to the news release, the audit identified concerns with accounting controls and procedures in the offices of the sheriff, recorder of deeds, county assessor and county clerk. It also found that the county “did not properly report property tax levy reductions in 2016 and the county clerk used an incorrect tax rate ceiling in the sales tax reduction calculations for 2017.” The announcement added that the county clerk “has begun the process to correct the tax rate ceiling.”
The audit report also listed concerns regarding county officials not maintaining appropriate time and leave records or following established written personnel policies for vacation leave and compensatory time, and having insufficient controls over county computers to protect them from unauthorized access or loss of data.
Ozark County Commissioners responded to the report with little more than a shrug, noting that previous audits have also resulted in “fair” ratings.
The state auditors “ have got to find something wrong,” said Ozark County Eastern District Commissioner Gary Collins. “They’ve got a job to do, and I respect them for that. We try to do the best we can, and if we do something wrong, we try to fix it.”
Collins added that the issues raised in the audit report are just “little old things” and county officials have done their best to correct them.
Presiding Commissioner John Turner said “there was nothing really controversial” in the audit. “Some county offices just have one person in the office, so it’s kind of hard to have checks and balances,” he said, adding, “there was no hint of malfeasance found in any department.”
Western Commissioner Greg Donley agreed, saying three state audits had resulted in “fair” ratings during his terms as commissioner, and none of the issues raised “had amounted to much of anything.”
Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed took a different tone. Interviewed Friday by KY3-TV from Springfield, Reed said he wasn’t happy “with some of the things that they put in a summary that was never discussed with us to begin with.”
To see the broadcaster’s complete story, visit KY3.com and search for “Ozark County.”
Responding to a claim in the audit that was cited by KY3 saying the sheriff “inadequately supervises or reviews detailed accounting and bank records,” Reed said, “It’s hogwash. Either myself or my chief deputy signs every check that goes through this office.”
The audit report suggested segregating accounting duties in the sheriff’s office. In response, Reed said, “I have a recommendation for Ms. Galloway….Send me more money down here, where I can double my staff, where I can do all the things she is wanting done, because we can’t afford it.”
To read the audit report, visit auditor.mo.gov and click on “Audit Reports” and then 2019 Counties.