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County auditor finds per diem inconsistencies : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
County auditor finds per diem inconsistencies
Differences noted in how board members completed per diem, mileage vouchers

by Matt Schury

1/23/2014

The Kendall County Board voted to accept the county's 2013 audit and financial report Tuesday morning from Tawnya Mack of the Morris-based auditing firm Mack and Associates.

Mack shared some of her findings in the report with the board during their committee of the meeting last.

One of Mack's findings addresses how county board members turn vouchers in for per diem reimbursements. In her finding Mack states that vouchers for board members' per diem and mileage were completed inconsistently.

"While procedures have been implemented, these procedures do not dictate the frequency in which the vouchers are to be submitted," she writes.

The audit recommends that the board come up with policies for documenting attendance and mileage that specify a time frame for voucher submissions and reimbursement.

"In our testing we were seeing that it was pretty inconsistent in how board members were turning in their per diems, some were turning them in monthly, some didn't turn them in at all, other ones would turn them in six or eight months at a time," she said.

Mack added that the board is following their own policy because it just states the amount they are reimbursed.

"But I do feel that it is a good policy to set a time frame on that-so that either monthly or quarterly these are to be turned in and that way it doesn't allow for any overlap," she said.

Mack also addressed accounts payable procedures. The audit finding explains that her office found six vouchers that were indentified as not having the required department head signature. Furthermore, in four instances only the individual who incurred the expense signed reimbursements.

"As the auditor, we like to see the signatures on them, at a board level you can decide that," she said. "A couple of them (vouchers) were board members' per diems. It's just a good idea to have a different board member approve those so you're signing not off on your own vouchers."

The finding also stated that when auditors performed testing they discovered some department heads do not perform proper tracking of credit card usage, which resulted in late payments and late fees.

Other findings and recommendations of note in the audit include:

•Training Animal Control staff on accounting software,

•Tracking employee leaves of absence uniformly,

•Removing past employees as signors on county bank accounts.



'Want to take shots'

Board member John Purcell, who chairs the County Board's Finance Committee, said he felt the county was in good financial shape overall even if the public doesn't always see it that way.

"Keep in mind in our 2014 budget we have levied less dollars than the county did in 2011. I think that's important for every board member to be aware of when they are criticized by the public," Purcell said. "What we control is actually less than it was in 2011."

In the audit the county's 2013 general fund balance shows about $24.4 million in revenues and $24.7 million in expenditures for a deficit of about $241,013. However, it also shows the county had an $18 million fund balance at the end of the year.

Purcell explained that the $18 million is the equivalent of about nine months of county spending in its reserve fund, which is healthy.

"If people want to take shots at the financial management of the county, I think that they are gravely mistaken. This county has been managed really well and this board has done a great job," Purcell said.

Board member Jeff Wehrli wondered aloud if nine months was too much money in reserve. He acknowledged that about six months in savings helps a local government maintain a good bond rating.

"Nine months, we're obviously doing really well but is there about where we're saying, we have too much," Wehrli said.

Purcell explained later in the meeting that there were many capital projects coming up in the year that would mean possibly dipping into that fund.

"We are going to have a five year capital plan ... and we are going to delve into that in great detail in the next couple months," Purcell said. "I can assure you there are going to be opportunities for us to use some of those funds."




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