Camden County Commissioners responded to the release of audit findings by Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway's office with a blanket statement saying they are pleased the audit has been released and assuring “our county citizens that since the audit started office holders and administrators have been addressing findings and will continue to do so.”

Camden County Commissioners responded to the release of audit findings by Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway’s office with a blanket statement saying they are pleased the audit has been released and assuring “our county citizens that since the audit started office holders and administrators have been addressing findings and will continue to do so.”

The statement went on to say, “we accept the performance audit of the overall county offices will help Camden County government become more efficiently accurate while being effective and accountable to provide a completeness to our office responsibilities.” The press release indicated it was from Camden County elected officeholders. 

The audit findings released by Galloway’s office gave Camden County an overall rating of fair . Galloway said the county was cooperative throughout the process and has already started the process of addressing the various findings that were noted within the audit report. 

Galloway said there was no fraud, embezzlement or missing money but overall there was a lack of oversight, failure to follow policies and checks and balances that can prevent those types of things from happening. The audit report cited lack of detailed oversight and failure to follow policies to ensure efficient use of taxpayer dollars throughout county government.

Galloway also released a separate audit of the Camden County Collector's Office, which is required by law when a vacancy occurs in a county collector's office. That report also received an overall rating of "fair".  

"Throughout Camden County government, we made recommendations to ensure taxpayer dollars are used effectively and efficiently,"  Galloway said. "The county often had policies on the books that would have required checks and balances, but those policies were not consistently enforced or followed. That means county officials could miss potentially questionable or inappropriate spending."

One of the areas a state audit checks is compliance with the Missouri Sunshine Law, commonly referred to as the open meetings law.The auditors cited the need for improvement in the county’s procedures for complying with the law as well as needed improvements to maintain meeting minutes. The county clerk needs to maintain a log of public record requests to ensure all requests are handled appropriately. the audit cited the county’s written policy regarding public access to county records is not adequate. The county commission does not ensure the minutes of all county commission meetings are prepared, approved in a timely manner and posted to the county’s website.

Galloway said there are documents that appear to have had information redacted that did not appear to be needed and the county needs to be clear on what qualifies for meeting in closed session.

While Galloway said she does give credit to the county for posting minutes on their website, it does need to be done in a timely manner and accurately. 

Compliance with the Sunshine Law is critical for taxpayers to know what  county government is doing and how elected officials are spendingMissouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released an audit of Camden County that detailed lack of oversight and failure to follow policies to ensure efficient use of taxpayer dollars throughout county government. Auditor Galloway also released a separate audit of the Camden County Collector's Office, which is required by law when a vacancy occurs in a county collector's office. Both reports received overall ratings of "fair".  

"Throughout Camden County government, we made recommendations to ensure taxpayer dollars are used effectively and efficiently," Galloway said. "The county often had policies on the books that would have required checks and balances, but those policies were not consistently enforced or followed. That means county officials could miss potentially questionable or inappropriate spending."

In another finding, auditors found the Camden County Salary Commission has not met since 2005, however, the salaries of some elected officials started increasing in 2006. The salary commission has met since the audit findings were shared with county officials. By law the commission is supposed to meet in odd-numbered years to determine compensation. 

Another  area the state audit checked is compliance with the Missouri Sunshine Law, commonly referred to as the open meetings law.The auditors cited the need for improvement in the county’s procedures for complying with the law as well as needed improvements to maintain meeting minutes. The county clerk needs to maintain a log of public record requests to ensure all requests are handled appropriately. the audit cited the county’s written policy regarding public access to county records is not adequate. The county commission does not ensure the minutes of all county commission meetings are prepared, approved in a timely manner and posted to the county’s website. 

The audit recommended the county improve reimbursement processes and do a better job of following policies related to purchasing. That includes ensuring there is documented review and approval when the county pays invoices or reimburses employees for purchases. The audit also recommended more consistent oversight of credit card purchases and usage.     

The audit detailed a situation in which a county employee was reimbursed $6,816 for various items, such as a laptop, cell phone accessories and firearm accessories, purchased outside of the normal procurement process. The items were picked up by the employee or shipped to the employee's residence.

The audit also found that the county did not always solicit bids for purchases over $6,000 as required. Auditors reviewed 15 such purchases totaling more than $700,000 and found commissioners approved the expenditures, even though they were not competitively bid.

The county also has weaknesses related to payroll. Employees were allowed to accrue vacation and compensatory leave in excess of the maximum allowed and leave balances were not always accurate. Additionally, the audit recommended better oversight of payroll duties to ensure related expenses are accounted for properly. 

The audit also identified a lack of financial oversight across several county offices and departments. Recommendations for the sheriff, prosecuting attorney, public administrator recorder of deeds and county clerk offices related to the need for better accounting practices.  In several county departments, internal processes need improvement to ensure funds are properly transmitted to the county treasurer and within a reasonable timeframe.     

 The audit recommended the county improve reimbursement processes and do a better job of following policies related to purchasing. That includes ensuring there is documented review and approval when the county pays invoices or reimburses employees for purchases. The audit also recommended more consistent oversight of credit card purchases and usage.     

The audit detailed a situation in which a county employee was reimbursed $6,816 for various items, such as a laptop, cell phone accessories and firearm accessories, purchased outside of the normal procurement process. The items were picked up by the employee or shipped to the employee's residence.

The audit also found that the county did not always solicit bids for purchases over $6,000 as required. Auditors reviewed 15 such purchases totaling more than $700,000 and found commissioners approved the expenditures, even though they were not competitively bid.

The county also has weaknesses related to payroll. Employees were allowed to accrue vacation and compensatory leave in excess of the maximum allowed and leave balances were not always accurate. Additionally, the audit recommended better oversight of payroll duties to ensure related expenses are accounted for properly. 

The audit also identified a lack of financial oversight across several county offices and departments. Recommendations for the sheriff, prosecuting attorney, public administrator, recorder of deeds and county clerk offices related to the need for better accounting practices.  

In several county departments, internal processes need improvement to ensure funds are properly transmitted to the county treasurer and within a reasonable timeframe.     

The audit was requested by the Camden County Commission in April of 2017 after a meeting with a  group of concerned citizens. The bi-partisan citizens group was mounting a county-wide effort to gather enough signatures to petition Galloway’s office for an audit. The commission ultimately decided a state audit would be the best option to restore faith in local government and began pursuing the request with Galloway’s office.  

Associate Commissioner Don Williams did comment on the audit saying it’s part of an overall effort to provide an open, honest county government and it offers extreme transparency to citizens. 

“I believe two things are important to take away from this audit:  (1) no fraud or corruption was found despite an in-depth, comprehensive, year-long state audit; and we now have the tools we need to make the necessary changes to create the most effective, efficient county government that we possibly can.  And that was our main objective from the beginning,” Williams said. 

 The audit was requested by the Camden County Commission in April of 2017 after a meeting with a  group of concerned citizens. The bi-partisan citizens group was mounting a county-wide effort to gather enough signatures to petition Galloway’s office for an audit. The commission ultimately decided a state audit would be the best option to restore faith in local government and began pursuing the request with Galloway’s office.  

A separate audit of the Camden County Collector and Property Tax System found significant weaknesses with the computerized property tax system. User access was not properly restricted, allowing multiple office staff to make changes to individual tax records and delete receipts. The system does not generate the system reports needed for adequate oversight and changes to property tax records were not properly reviewed and approved. The audit also recommended better oversight of property tax records and improved accounting processes within the county collector's office.