The State Audit is expected to begin later this year, but a specific month has not been determined, Spokesperson Gena Terlizzi confirmed, adding that it could be later this summer or in the fall.

This is the first part of a two-part series examining what led to Camden County’s request to seek a State Audit for the first time in nearly two decades and past reports issued by independent certified public accountants. The second part of the series will analyze recommendations made by former Special Deputy Auditor Michael Dorf in 2016 and Daniel Jones & Associates in 2014 and 2015.

The Missouri State Auditor’s Office officially approved a request from the Camden County Commission for a comprehensive performance audit of the entire government back in April, but according to a spokesperson from Nicole Galloway’s office, a start date has not yet been finalized.

The State Audit is expected to begin later this year, but a specific month has not been determined, Spokesperson Gena Terlizzi confirmed, adding that it could be later this summer or in the fall.

Almost a year prior to the request, Michael Dorf, CPA, was appointed by the Commission to the position of Special Deputy Auditor to examine the 2016 budget process in which apparent discrepancies were discovered between several offices including the Road and Bridge Department, Sheriff’s Office and Prosecutor’s Office.

Complaints about the process were submitted to the Missouri State Highway Patrol for investigation and then passed onto specially appointed prosecutor Shayne Healea of Moniteau County, though the results of the investigation have never been released and still considered ongoing. No charges have been filed.

Dorf was initially appointed in March of 2016 for 90-days, received an extension until the end of September and then resigned the first week of October, issuing a one-and-a-half page report that ultimately concluded there was a lack of documentation available related to the budget process. Dorf issued six recommendations for the county government to implement, mostly pertaining to better record-keeping, notification and documentation of the budget process.

Since the audit request approval two Camden County officials, former Collector Vicky Burns and former Auditor Ronnie Capps, have resigned citing medical issues, but did state they would be available during the State Audit process.

Additionally, two weeks ago, the Commission decided to change financial service providers, opting to accept a proposal from Central Bank of Lake of the Ozarks over one from its current provider, First National Bank.

When questioned by the Lake Sun as to whether the special appointment, resignation of officials, and changing of banks would have any effect on the scope or time of the audit, Galloway’s Office declined to comment specifically.

“It is difficult to estimate the length until audit work is underway, and I am unable to comment further or speculate at this time on what time be included in and/or impact the audit,” Terlizza responded via e-mail.

On March 7, 2017, the Commission approved a motion to pursue an independent or state audit after meeting with a group of concerned citizens. The Commission ultimately decided a State Audit would be the best option to restore faith in local government and began pursuing the proper protocol making the request.

Approximately six weeks after the initial motion, the Commission approved an official resolution as per Missouri Revised Statutes to begin the process of requesting a State Audit, which Camden County has not undergone since it became a First Class County in 1997-1998. A week later the request was accepted by Galloway’s Office.

A bi-partisan group of citizens had also undergone a county-wide effort to gather enough signatures to petition Auditor Galloway for a state audit, circulating the petition around several local businesses.

The Commission said they likely wouldn’t know the total cost of the audit until it was complete, but estimates have ranged from $100,000 to $150,000 depending on the scope and findings. The total cost of the audit will fall on the County.