While Associate District Commissioner Don Williams disagrees with some of the wording in the findings, now that the audit has been released, he said the county can move forward fixing the problems that were cited by Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway's office.

While Associate District Commissioner Don Williams disagrees with some of the wording in the findings, now that the audit has been released, he said the county can move forward fixing the problems that were cited by Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway's office. 

William's comments come nearly a week after the audit findings were released to the public.

"Going through an audit is never easy, especially one as detailed and comprehensive as this one was," he said.  "But now, in order to meet all the standards laid out by the state auditor, many changes have to be made, many improvements performed.  Even though we’re already instituting the suggested changes, a lot of work lies ahead of us."

The county received an overall rating of fair on the audit. The lengthy report cited various county offices for what was described as a lack of oversight, failure to follow policies and a lack of check and balances. 

Noted in the audit, and cited as a reason the process took so long, is the county software. Almost all the county software is extremely outdated, as stated in the audit.  “We can’t even get updates anymore for some of it.  So we are installing new software this year that will update all our systems and will integrate all our offices, making every function faster and more efficient," he said.  “This is taking place at the same time that we have received the audit report and this is perfect timing because we can now incorporate the audit suggestions into the new software.  We’re going to end up with a much better, vastly improved county government in Camden County." 

Williams said the county has already begun the process of implementing changes. Among those changes are how the county commission handles bidding procedures.

" The specific wording of many of the audit’s findings could be more accurate.  For example, the claim that some contracts were not competitively bid  – excepting telephone services and IBM parts – is absolutely false," Williams said.  "It would be more accurate to say that bidding documents were mis-filed. "

The audit cited more than $700,000 for various things that should have been out out for bid. Williams said the purchases had gone through the bidding process but were not in the office were those documents should have been kept. 

Williams said the county was able to  track information maintained by Associate District Commissioner Bev Thomas.

Williams said Thomas keeps copies of all commission business and all contracts are voted on and provide in public meetings, he said.  However, 1st District Commissioner Bev Thomas tends to keep copies of all commission business.  

" Because of that, we were able to show that all contracts were competitively bid.  But the proof was not in the office it should have been in.  We have fixed that," Williams said. 

One mistake the county was apparently making, according to Williams,  is not keeping copies of the bids that were not accepted.  The county only retained the successful bids.  Keeping the unaccepted bids helps to prove that competitive bidding did take place. The county has changed the way they handle the process in order to comply with the recommendation of the auditor's office. 

Williams said the public is free to examine the bidding documents at any time, so this will be done from now on.