Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released a follow-up review of government operations in Lawrence County, located in southwest Missouri. The report is a review of progress made since a December 2016 audit gave the county a performance rating of poor.
"Our initial review of Lawrence County identified concerns with the bidding process and led to questions as to whether officials were securing the best value for citizens," Auditor Galloway said. "While I am encouraged by the steps taken to address this issue, there is more work needed. A few simple changes could improve government processes and make sure sensitive information is safeguarded."
The December 2016 audit report described concerns with county bidding procedures surrounding the selection of the company to supply and operate court-required GPS and alcohol monitoring equipment. The follow-up review identified progress in the county's bidding processes. Review of recent bid proposals found county officials are now making efforts to document the evaluation process and note the reasons a vendor is selected.
Other areas of concern addressed in the review include issues within the county collector's office. The county collector submitted an accurate annual settlement document for the most current year and made efforts to recalculate and distribute assessment withholding amounts to local governments.
The review identified several recommendations that were not adequately addressed. Additional work is needed to improve oversight and basic accounting procedures in the offices of the county collector and sheriff. Several county offices have not taken steps to safeguard electronic data.
The follow-up review was completed because the county received an overall performance rating of "poor," which is the lowest rating available. A poor rating triggers a follow-up review, which occurs once the entity has had an opportunity to evaluate and correct deficiencies identified in the audit.
In total, auditors identified 12 areas of concern to evaluate during the follow-up review. Three recommendations were fully implemented. For seven other recommendations, progress has been made or recommendations were partially implemented. Recommendations for two findings had not been addressed, and no specific plans had been made to act on the recommendations.
A copy of the progress report is available online here.