By Alex Haglund
At the July meeting of the Washington County Board, held on Tuesday, July 12, Gary Malawy of Krehbiel and Associates spoke to the board and went over the results of the county’s yearly audit, with Malawy stating that the books kept by County Treasurer Kelly Cameron’s office were not in compliance.
Malawy stated that one-sided journal entries both within the treasurer’s office accounting software and within a second manual set of books the office kept, were what was responsible for an out-of-balance ledger for the county.
The mistakes which led to this were costly for the county, with Krehbiel and Associates billing an additional $20,691, in addition to their audit fee, for the time it took them to correct the county’s books through May 31, 2016.
County board member Eric Brammeier asked if one of the sets of books, the manual or electronic, was right while the other was wrong.
“Both sets of books were wrong,” Malawy told the board.
Despite the errors and the following clean-up effort, Malawy said that there was no evidence of malfeasance, theft or any criminal acts. Due to this fact, the auditors were able to issue a “clean” opinion for the audit.
“During the course of the entire audit,” Malawy said, “there was no misappropriation of funds. There was no money missing. That’s why were able to issue a clean audit.”
That did not excuse Cameron’s office from responsibility for the issues though, with Malawy stating plainly to the board that the issue was “due to accounting errors by the treasurer’s office.”
Following the audit results and discussions with the county board’s finance committee prior to the July board meeting, Malawy said that Cameron has stated that she will be undertaking additional training with her accounting software provider, as well as basic accounting training.
“I think that an accounting class will help the treasurer immensely,” Malawy said to the board.
A statement issued by the county board regarding the audit’s findings can be found on page A4 of today’s edition of The Nashville News.
The audit showed Washington County to have $24,377,000 in fixed assets, and roughly $12,000,000 in total cash, a figure Malawy said was deceptive, due to the fact that the county is merely a custodian or trustee for much of that money. All the county’s accounts are either fully collateralized or insured by the FDIC.
Overall, there was a decrease in the county’s general fund of $546,000 from last year to this one.
Malawy also stated that money from the Prairie state Fund had bailed the county out of some of the losses of the last year, but added that since the money from Prairie State is allotted specifically for buildings and improvements, some of the amount would potentially need to be paid back into the Prairie State fund.