County group probes audit findings

A newly created Audit Committee met Thursday to discuss the findings of the 2013 county audit released by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.
Mar 21, 2014

A newly created Audit Committee met Thursday to discuss the findings of the 2013 county audit released by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.

The audit covered fiscal year 2013 and included eight findings, involving four departments.

Jeff Bailey with the Comptroller’s Office said he was glad the county decided to form the committee.

“Many counties have been resistant,” Bailey said. “We feel like this is a better vehicle to discuss issues and come up with solutions. It’s a step forward for you to have this committee.”

Finance Director Aaron Maynard read the list of findings and addressed each one. The first was from his office. The finding reads “material audit adjustments were required for proper financial statement presentation.”

Maynard said this stemmed from an ambulance billing program that has since been changed.

“The ambulance billing program we had…it was often six weeks behind,” Maynard said. 

The department now has a new system, called NRG, which has streamlined the billing process.

“We are much better able to calculate those numbers. Now a bill can be viewed in one or two days,” said Maynard. “This shouldn’t happen again with the new system because we can know in a ore timely manner.”

The probation department had several findings, and Maynard said “the theme here is what was deposited was not what was receipted..”

Findings for the probation department included “the department had deficiencies in operations,” “the department had deficiencies in computer system backup procedures,” “usernames and passwords were shared by employees,” “the receipting software did not have adequate application controls” and “the department did not properly restrict access to the probation application.”

Maynard noted that the records on the computers were set to be sent to an automatic offsite backup, but a setting had been changed to where the records were not automatically being moved.

“I was at the probation exit conference,” Maynard said. “Although it was not corrected at the exit conference, it has been corrected since.”

Bailey said his department takes issue with whether counties have a backup plan and offsite storage of records.

“Those things are important,” Bailey said. “These type deficiencies would allow money to be taken, and it would be very hard to prove. We can’t go back and be able to determine because of this so the main issue is that it has been corrected moving forward.”

Newly elected committee Chair Frank Bush asked Maynard what the total annual collections for the probation department are.

“About $350,000 to $400,000,” said Maynard.

“So we’re not talking a multi-million dollar risk here,” said Bush.

The final two findings dealt with the Office of Trustee and the Office of Juvenile Court Clerk.

In the office of the trustee, the finding read “the trustee did not require a depository to adequately collateralize funds.” 

Maynard said a bank is supposed to keep a certain percentage of funds available, and one of the banks used by the office did not do so.

The finding in the office of juvenile court clerk read “the receipting software for the office did not have adequate application controls.” Maynard said that too had been addressed by the vendor through which the software had been purchased.

Committee member Paul Abercrombie asked Maynard if he was satisfied with the results.

“Eight findings is too many,” said Maynard. “It’s my goal for the finance department to have no findings, but I’m confident that these issues have all been addressed.”

Bush said for the committee’s next meeting, which will be scheduled prior to the release of the 2014 audit, the group should discuss “here are the things we said we were going to do, and have we done it.”

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