The Decatur County government has just received less than admirable state audit findings.
With 11 findings as opposed to the previous year’s eight, that’s putting it mildly.
In a press release, for instance, Comptrollers say this year’s results “leave much room for improvement.”
“The audit findings reveal many problems including expenditures exceeding appropriations authorized by the County Commission, failure to reconcile accounts, and poor record keeping. Findings were written for the offices of County Mayor (pictured above), Road Supervisor, Director of Schools, and Assessor of Property,” Comptrollers said in the emailed press release.
“Auditors also had to make material adjustments to the county’s financial statements to ensure accuracy. This is a strong indicator that the county has ineffective controls over the maintenance of its accounting records.”
The audit also includes an adverse opinion on the county’s component units. That is because the financial statements do not include the Decatur County General Hospital. These financial statements were not available from other auditors at the date of Comptroller’s report.
Decatur County is in west Tennessee.
Among only a few of the audit’s findings:
• Expenditures exceeded total appropriations approved by the County Commission in the General and Special Purpose funds by $516,433 and $161,968, respectively.
• Salaries exceeded appropriations in 12 of 92 salary line-items of the General Fund by amounts ranging from $306 to $8,060 and in one of nine salary line- items of the Solid Waste/Sanitation Fund by $1,114.
• The county mayor’s personnel policy permits employees to accumulate earned but unused vacation leave. County personnel provided auditors with individual accrued leave records, which auditors tested for accuracy. There were no summarized records provided, only individual sheets for each employee. There were no subsidiary payroll records provided to support the leave used.
In a written response, county officials said they concurred with all the findings.
Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson said in the press release that members of the county’s audit committee should hold regular meetings to address each of these issues.
“Unfortunately, the audit committee has not been conducting business,” Wilson wrote.
“Most Tennessee counties are receiving improved audit results. It is concerning to see Decatur County trend in the wrong direction.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Mike Creasy” by Mike Creasy. Background Photo “Decaturville” by Decaturville.