State auditor notes continued internal-control issues in city treasurer’s office

When I interviewed Sandee Dixon for the story in our sister New Dominion Magazine back in August on the issues she was facing in running her city treasurer’s office, she told me that she had just finished meetings with state auditors for the office’s annual review, and that she was expecting “good news” when their report came out.

She did not get the good news she told me she was expecting.

“The Treasurer continues to not maintain sufficient internal control over state funds or comply with state laws and regulations,” state auditor Walter Kucharski wrote in a letter to Waynesboro Mayor Tim Williams dated Aug. 21.

Dixon, an independent, is up for re-election in the Nov. 3 general election. She is being challenged by Republican Stephanie Beverage.

The Auditor of Public Accounts office report contained “essentially the same findings over the last four audits,” Kucharski wrote in the letter, listing as the top issues a continued lack of an internal-control system in the office and the improper use of an in-house accounting system.

Specific issues noted in the report:

– “The Treasurer should lock up payments,” Kucharski wrote in his letter. “If the Office receives payments but cannot immediately receipt them, then the Treasurer should lock these items by placing them in a locking drawer. Staff should not leave these payments unattended on employee desks where they could be lost or stolen.”
– The office did not reconcile state income-tax assessments, collections and uncollected balances for the entire audit period, Kucharski wrote. “Failing to maintain records and perform monthly reconciliations is a significant internal control weakness which brings into question the reliability, effectiveness, and efficiency of the office,” according to Kucharski.

– The report noted a nine-month delay in remitting $4,180.71 in sheriff’s office fees to the Commonwealth, a six-month accumulation of worker’s compensation fees for $108 not yet remitted to the state and two months of circuit-court sheriff fees totaling $868.42 that were remitted three days late.

 

– Story by Chris Graham



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