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Audit Finds Problems In Grundy County

Posted on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Grundy County government leaders need to fix numerous problems detailed in a new audit report from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury.

The annual audit resulted in 14 findings, 10 of which were also identified in last year’s audit report.

The highway superintendent’s office and the director of schools’ office were once again the source of numerous deficiencies and weaknesses.

The variety of problems included noncompliant purchasing procedures in several departments, inadequate segregation of financial duties, poor recordkeeping, and failure to follow policies.

Grundy County created an Audit Committee on May 20, 2013, however there were no minutes to document that this committee has ever met or conducted any business.

“Grundy County government has serious issues that need to be corrected,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “For two years in a row we have raised concerns about the substantial number of audit findings that have gone uncorrected. It’s beyond time for the Audit Committee to meet and address these significant deficiencies that put taxpayer dollars at risk.”

A summary of the findings include the following.

Office of the County Mayor:

The office had deficiencies in purchasing procedures and authorizations were not on file to support gross salary amounts for some employees.

Office of Highway Superintendent:

The office did not maintain adequate controls over fuel; the office had deficiencies in purchasing procedures; the office had deficiencies relating to travel; deficiencies exist related to work performed for other governmental entities; and the office did not implement adequate controls to protect its information resources.

Office of Director of Schools:

The office had deficiencies in purchasing procedures; deficiencies were noted in the administration of Little Jackets Daycare; the actual fund balance exceeded the estimated beginning fund balance by a material amount; and board policy was not followed in the recruitment and selection of the Director of Schools.

Offices of Trustee and Circuit and General Sessions Court Clerk:

Multiple employees operated from the same cash drawer.

Offices of County Mayor, Highway Superintendent, Director of Schools, County Clerk, Circuit and General Sessions Court Clerks, and Sheriff:

Duties were not segregated adequately.

Grundy County:

The county’s Audit Committee is not a functioning committee.

Director of Schools, David Dickerson, says actions were immediately implemented to correct findings related to Grundy County Schools. “A P.O. request is now required before orders can be issued,” said Dickerson. “We have segregated duties at the Little Jackets Daycare. There will be a Central Office employee will be making deposits two times a week.

“We have also segregated duties for payroll and will document this evidence. It required implementing a series of checks and balances and employees will sign off on a checklist.

“The Department of Education is taking all the necessary steps to correct the audit related findings related to the school system.”

Tim Spicer, Chairman of the Grundy County School Board, directly addressed the hiring of Dickerson as Director of Schools. “Upon receiving notification of Director Joel Hargis’ intent to retire, the Grundy County Board of Education sought the advice of school counsel,” said Spicer.

“Attorney D. Scott Bennett, counsel to the Grundy County Board of Education, advised the Chairman of the Board in March 2013 that Grundy County Board Policy No. 5.801, as it then read, was inconsistent with the provisions of Tennessee law. Specifically, T.C.A. § 49-2-202(g) and T.C.A. § 49-2-203(a)(14) authorize a local board of education, by majority vote, to extend an offer to hire a new director of schools upon 15 days’ notice.

Accordingly, the Board determined that it was in the best interest of the Grundy County Schools to dispense with the other requirements of this Board policy and, for the efficient operation of the system, to enter into a contract with Dr. David Dickerson,” Spicer continued.

“Subsequently, on the advice of counsel, the Board amended Board Pol. No. 5.801. While this policy continues to provide for the more elaborate selection process, it also specifically states that the Board has the authority under Tennessee law to select a director of schools upon a majority vote for the efficient operation of the system.”

To view the audit online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/la/