GREENVILLE – The Ohio Auditor’s office performed its annual audit of Darke County recently where it discovered a handful of noncompliance issues and gave recommendations to improve county standards. Darke County Auditor Carol Ginn said she was pleased with the audit, and said that Darke County performed above expectations for 2011.
The following is the Ohio Auditor’s list of noncompliance issues and recommendations:
Veterans Service Commission Ethics Referral
The Darke County Veterans Service Commission was found to be in violation of Ohio Revised Code Section 2921.42, which provides that no public official shall knowingly “authorize or employ the influence of” the official’s office to secure authorization of the employment of a family member.
During 2007, Gary Hemmerich and Ted Bruner served on the Darke County Veterans Commission at the time Krisann Franck (Mr. Hemmerich’s daughter) and Cynthia Bruner (Mr. Bruner’s wife) were offered employment with the commission.
According to the audit, Mr. Hemmerich and Mr. Bruner were also present during executive sessions where the performance evaluations were discussed for all employees.
The report claims that pay increases issued from Ms. Bruner’s employment in Jan. 2007 and Ms. Franck’s employment in April 2007 through Nov. 16, 2010 resulted in a $13 per hour to $20 per hour increase, which equated to 53 percent raise.
The Veterans Service Commission case was turned over to the State Ethics Committee for further investigation.
Accrual of Leave for Veterans Service Commission
According to the audit, three employees of the Veterans Service Commission, Krisann Franck, Cynthia Bruner and Jack Preston accrued vacation leave and sick leave based on working 80 hours per pay period.
The report claims that the employees worked less than 80 hours per pay period during 2011 and were not entitled to the full amount of vacation and sick leave that was accrued on the system.
Ginn said that this was a misunderstanding between the state office and Darke County Veterans Service Commission, as the commission only requires a 38-hour work week from its employees. In the past, Darke County salaried jobs were divided out to a 40-hourly rate to accrue vacation and sick time visibly on each pay check.
It is legal for any county department to alter their salary hour requirements, however according to Ginn, the Veterans’ Board did not update their handbook to reflect the changes. Therefore, the policy fell back to the Darke County hand book upon being audited by the state.
The Ohio Auditor’s office recommends that the county payroll system should be adjusted to deduct the excess hours of vacation and sick leave accrued but not earned for the Veterans Service Commission accordingly. However, the Veterans’ Board filed a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment in September against the Darke County Commissioners and Darke County Auditor. According to Ginn, the case has been sent to Dayton for ruling.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Equipment Reporting
The audit found that Darke County had several assets purchased with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant in 2011 in the amount of $62,350 that were not reported to the County to be added to their fixed asset listing.
The Ohio State Auditor’s office recommended that the Darke County Business Manager scan and report all expenditures so that they can be properly added to the fixed asset listing.
Job and Family Services Random Moment Samples
Ohio Code 5105:9-7-20 states that an employee working on an income maintenance and social services case must include a case number or other unique identifier establishing case/client identity.
The audit noted that there was one instance out of 20 where the sample had no case number or identifier included in section 1 of the Random Moment Sample Observation Form. It is recommended that Darke County implement policies to ensure future compliance of all Random Moment Sample Observation Forms.
CSEA Cash Management
Federal Child Support Enforcement Agencies require cash management procedures to ensure the time elapsing between the receipt of funds and the disbursement does not exceed ten days for all federal funding.
In 2011, there was an instance where a Darke County draw-down was not expended during the allotted 10-day period, although the issue was corrected for the second half of the year.
The Ohio State Audit office recommends that the Darke County Jobs and Family Services and Child Enforcement Agency should asses the needs to monitor the draw-downs and ensure a ten day average for all future transactions.
CDBG Sub-recipient Monitoring
The Ohio audit found that funds from the Community Development Block Grant were not properly properly monitored by Darke County based on sub-recipient agreements between Osgood and North Star villages.
The Ohio audit recommends that Darke County should “implement policies and procedures to more actively monitor all sub-recipients in which the County is acting as a pass-through entity,” in order to ensure that the requirements of the grant agreement are being adequately followed.
According to Ginn, future sub-recipient agreements will be reviewed by Grants Coordinator Jeff Marshall.
Title Department Reconciliations
Monthly bank reconciliations were completed by the Darke County Title Department, however there was no review of the reconciliations being performed.
The state audit claims the lack of a review may allow for errors to go unchecked, and the State Auditor’s office recommends a reconciliation review process to be put into place.
Outstanding Checks – Clerk of Court
The Ohio audit found that the clerk of court’s monthly bank reconciliations for Dec. 31, 2011 contained reconciling items totaling $9,061.56 in outstanding 2010 checks.
However, according to Cindy Pike of the Darke County Clerk of Courts office, the amount was only $1,467.72, and of that total, $847.12. was paid into unclaimed funds.
The two parties are in the process of finding the discrepancy in fiscal totals.
Sewer payment Stubs
Darke County utility payment stubs are required to show the date received, amount and payment method on the ticket.
During state testing of the pay stubs in 2012, 13 of 26 pay-ins tested had stubs attached that did not contain a date received, amount and/or payment method documented.
According to Ginn, the county has already changed the way they process utility payment stubs, so this is no longer an issue.
Auditor’s and Clerk of Court’s Disaster Recovery
In order to ensure minimal interruption to Darke County services, the Ohio Auditor’s office recommends creating, documenting and maintaining a Disaster Recovery Plan for both its clerk of courts and auditor’s offices.
These plans would minimally include recovery terms and definitions, technical recovery procedures, a readiness plan, an emergency contact list, and a reciprocal agreement with a compatible site to restore operations.
Ginn said that the Darke County Auditor’s office already performs backups and transports some records across town each day.
The recovery plans would also deal with getting the county branch’s payroll up as soon as possible from a major emergency.
Creative Microsoft Systems developed payroll and budgetary record keeping for Darke County, and Ginn said she is testing that these systems are able to perform weekly backup services for Darke County.
According to the Ohio audit, the Darke County’s Auditor’s office has not updated its software support agreement with its existing systems and technical providers since 1997.
The Ohio audit office recommends an update to the software agreement between to the two parties.
However, according to Ginn the county’s software agreements have been updated in recent years, and that the two parties have enjoyed a continual and beneficial understanding.