Forty credit cards are being used by Barton County officials with no policy governing use of the cards, according to the state audit, which was issued Friday.
The cards are used to buy supplies and and for expenses incurred in transporting prisoners, the audit said. "The county has not adopted formal policies and procedures, such as a policy prohibiting the personal use of county credit cards," the report said.
The auditors suggest the county evaluate the need for so many credit cards and "cancel any cards which are determined unnecessary."
In their reply to the auditors, Barton County Commissioners said County Clerk Bonda Rawlings keeps a list of what cards are assigned to what employees and credit card statements are reviewed by the Commission prior to approval.
The Commission was also criticized for either not seeking bids or not keeping documentation on bids for several big-ticket items, according to the audit. Among those items:
-Emergency 911 radios and tower $88,198
-Computer programming and network service (2003 and 2002) $68,430
-Food for jail (2003 and 2002) $65,993
-Patrol car $19,995
-Prosecuting attorney's video projector and screen $4,559
"The County Commission and County Clerk indicated that bids were solicited for some of these purchases through telephone calls or some items were only available from one vendor; however, documentation of these calls and sole source procurement situations was not maintained. In addition, the County Commission indicated the Emergency 911 radios and tower were advertised for bids; however, documentation of the advertisement was not maintained."
The auditor suggested county officials take bids for all items and maintain proper documentation. In its response, the Commission said that would be done.
Barton County officials received pay increases that apparently were not authorized by the county's Salary Commission. A total of $7,871 in such raises was documented in the audit, including:
-Eastern Commissioner $1,320
-Western Commissioner $1,320
The Salary Commission last met in 1997 and voted for each official to receive the maximum allowable compensation for 1999 and beyond. "The County Clerk indicated it was the salary commission's intention to take salary increases when assessed valuation increases within the county occurred; however, the salary commission minutes do not clearly indicate this was their decision." The Salary Commission did not meet in 1999, 2001, or 2003, the audit said.
The auditors suggested that county officials review the salary increases, get a legal opinion, and consider having the overpayments repaid. It also suggested that Salary Commission meetings reflect all decisions The County Commission's response was that the Salary Commission decisions would be documented. The commissioners did not address the salary repayment issue.
Other items mentioned in the audit included:
-Centralized leave records were not maintained for all county employees. "As a result, two sheriff's office employees were allowed to accumulate annual leave beyond the maximum allowed by the county's personnel policy and another employee was allowed to take annual leave beyond his accumulated balance."
-"The County Commission did not monitor prevailing wages paid during the construction of a county bridge in violation of federal and state laws."
- "The county does not have adequate procedures in place to track federal awards for the preparation of the SEFA." The report did not include expenditures for some of the county's federal grants, the audit said.
-Problems were also reported in the circuit clerk's accounting controls and procedures.