Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released an audit of Wright County, located in southern Missouri. The report describes concerns with accounting procedures in several county offices, including some that have been identified in multiple previous audits.
"When used properly, audits can serve as useful tools to assist public officials in identifying ways to improve government operations," Auditor Galloway said. "That's why it's troubling when we see similar concerns appearing over and over again, with little effort made to implement the necessary corrective actions. My team has conducted a thorough review of Wright County finances and operations and this report includes important steps the county must take to properly protect public dollars and resources."
The audit describes several issues in the prosecuting attorney's office, including a failure to separate accounting duties or perform supervisory reviews in order to create appropriate checks and balances when dealing with sensitive bank records and information. The report also found the prosecuting attorney isn't taking advantage of the computerized system for tracking bad checks and providing notice to individuals who owe money to the office.
In the report, Auditor Galloway recommends the county improve procedures related to confiscated and seized property in the sheriff's office. The audit found the list of seized property is not accurate or up to date. For example, the inventory list incorrectly showed many items that could not be located, and additional items were found in seized property storage, including more than $5,000 in cash, that were not listed on the inventory log. Due to the sensitive nature of some of the items that are routinely seized in association with a potential crime or criminal actions, it's necessary that these items be properly tracked, secured and stored.
The county also had inadequate computer password and security features to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to county data. In one office, user access was still available to a former employee a year after employment ended.
County audits typically include a review of the county collector's office, but because the Wright County Collector resigned in July, a separate report on that office will be released at a later date.
Wright County received an overall performance rating of fair. The complete report is available online here.