Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today issued an audit of Douglas County government, which earned an overall performance rating of "poor." The report includes findings regarding delayed payments to crime victims by the prosecuting attorney, and a lack of documentation for purchases and payments made by the public administrator on behalf of individuals whose finances she has been charged with managing. Similar issues were identified in previous audits of Douglas County.
"It's frustrating when we identify the same issues we've seen in past audits, especially when we have previously made recommendations to better serve citizens," Auditor Galloway said. "In Douglas County, we found a number of concerning practices that had been raised with county officials in prior audits. My office has again outlined ways for the county to improve its current procedures, and we will return for a follow-up review to see what steps officials have taken."
Auditors raised concerns with the amount of time it takes for victims to receive money awarded to them in a court case, even after the money is paid to the attorney's office. The audit identified $5,200 in compensation due to injury or loss that had not been passed along to the victims in 11 separate cases, even though the office had the money in possession for at least 6 months, and in some cases, several years. Auditors pointed out similar concerns under the previous prosecuting attorney. The current prosecuting attorney took office in January 2015.
The audit also found the public administrator did not have adequate supporting documentation for her handling of some purchases, including gift cards and phone cards made on behalf of an individual whose finances she was responsible for overseeing.
In addition, county employment policies failed to comply with federal law. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides 12 weeks of protected, unpaid leave related to the birth or care of a child, but county policy only allows expectant mothers to take six weeks of unpaid leave, although other leave can also be used.
Auditors noted the sheriff's office did not perform a periodic review of items confiscated during criminal investigations, or document whether items had been returned to the owner or destroyed. In some cases seized property had been held since 2006.
The county also had inadequate computer password and security features to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to county data.
Because the county received an overall performance rating of "poor," auditors will return later this year to perform a follow-up review. The complete audit report can be found online here.