Commission chair says audit findings ‘unacceptable’

Dr. Bo Tang, a computer technician, is shown here installing programs to limit access to the county’s computers. This is one of the steps being taken by the commission in response to audit findings by the Alabama Department of State Examiners. New software which is capable of producing monthly financial statements will soon be installed.

In response to the recent audit received from the State Examiners of Public Accounts on the county’s financial practices from 10/1/08 – 9/30/09, new fiscal policies are being implemented by the Greene County Commission.
The state auditors said corrective action was needed in several areas, including:
*Reconciliation of bank accounts;
*Accurate listing of outstanding checks for each bank account;
*Segregation of duties in the Commission office;
*Failure to post cash transactions to accounting records;
*Failure to reconcile cash with Fiscal Agents accounts;
*One bank account was not recorded in the Commission’s accounting records.
They also noted that at the end of fiscal year 2009, the county’s liabilities for governmental activities were $4 million more than the county’s assets. Seven county funds had deficits including a $220,000 deficit in the General Fund.
Members of the commission have asked repeatedly for an up-to-date financial report each month and were told it was not available due to problems with existing computer software. At a recent meeting, they approved the purchase of whatever software was necessary to produce the required financial records.
William “Nick” Underwood, Chairman of the Greene County Commission, says that the audit findings of the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts were “unacceptable,” and that immediate steps were being take to correct the problems.
“These findings suggest to me that someone dropped the ball by not providing the oversight that is needed.
“We have taken action to correct these problems,” said Underwood.
One of the first actions taken was to begin searching for a fiscal manager – someone Underwood says must be “familiar with the general accounting principals necessary to comply with state procedures.”
“We have also authorized a one time adjustment in fund balances so that we can get a clear picture of where we are at any given point in time. This adjustment will bring the nine funds identified as being out of wack into compliance with state laws and regulations.
“Deficit spending has been alleviated. We will not spend money that we do not have.
“We have established a financial review commission consisting of two members of the commission and a CPA. This group will review each and every expenditure and report its findings to the full commission.
“We have segregated duties in the finance department so as to avoid any impropriety or a possibility of mismanagement of funds.
“We have conducted a complete inventory of our fixed assets. This is the first such inventory conducted since the county was in bankruptcy.
“As a cost-saving measure, we have applied a RIF policy to get rid of obsolete jobs and job duties.
“This commission is very aware that we are stewards of the county’s funds and assets entrusted to our care. We are accountable in that the oversight is given to us as commissioners.”
The auditors found that the commission did not always record receivables in accordance with generally accepted accounting principals, including accruing the sales taxes receivable twice at year-end, thus overstating the receivable and related revenues. They also did not accrue revenues and record receivables in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. receivables and the related revenues are therefore understated.
Underwood said that he and the other commissioners feel that hiring a financial manager and the oversight and other money-saving procedures will help to bring the county into compliance as quickly as possible.