Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released an audit of the Foley municipal court, a division of the Forty-Fifth Judicial Circuit. Auditors found that the court, located in Lincoln County, lacked crucial checks and balances to prevent loss, theft or misuse of funds.
"We know there's a greater risk of funds being used inappropriately in offices where a small number of employees have a great deal of responsibility," Auditor Galloway said. "In Foley, the same employee serves as both the court clerk and city clerk, and that means other individuals, such as the municipal judge or city personnel, must perform reviews of the clerk's work. My team has recommended officials put safeguards in place to ensure Foley's citizens are dealing with an efficient, reliable system."
The audit found numerous discrepancies among the clerk's accounting records and noted that the clerk had failed to report $13,540 in collections to the Office of State Courts Administrator. Auditors also found that the municipal judge did not review the final disposition in every case, and the prosecuting attorney failed to sign all tickets processed. In a review of 59 tickets, six contained the prosecutor's facsimile signature, and the other 53 had no signature. Also, the prosecutor didn't sign or initial to document approval to subsequently amend or dismiss some charges.
The Foley court collected warrant fees without statutory authority and assessed fees when defendants failed to appear in court, without filing any additional related charges.
Auditors examined city calculations for determining excess revenues from traffic violations. They found that, under a prior state law, the city should have remitted at least $209,057 to the Department of Revenue for 2014.
The full audit report for the Foley municipal court, which received an overall performance rating of "fair," can be found here.