State Auditor Mary Mosiman says this second review was prompted by a special investigation of the systems in Mills and Cerro Gordo counties.
“In those reports, lack of internal controls allowed staff to circumvent controls and divert collections. And those three reports had identified undeposited collections as well as uncollected fees,” Mosiman explains. This new review investigated the systems used in 10 random counties that varied in size.
“We interviewed officials within the treasurer offices and we observed and evaluated their internal control systems,” Mosiman says. “And we’re recommending that the DOT implement on site monitoring of county treasurer offices so that they can verify that county treasurer staff members are operating in accordance with D-O-t policies and procedures.” Mosiman says the procedures were not being followed for voided transactions, leaving open the possibility that the money from the transaction could be taken.
“In this particular review we didn’t note that voids were allowing collections to be undeposited — but we did find that controls were not being followed,” Mosiman says.
Mosiman says the DOT did respond to the recommendations in the report.
“The DOT was not opposed to reinforcing their training program. They do want to make sure that resources are in place and that they have the appropriate legal capacity to do what might need to be done,” according to Mosiman. “..the ten county treasurer offices responded positively, but again, it is a matter of individual implementation.” Many of the smaller counties don’t have as many employees and that creates issues with having more than one person oversee transactions.
Mosiman says they’ve heard of that from multiple counties — not just in this report but in regular audit work. She says that’s why it is important to put the controls in place so the necessary oversight can take place, even if there is an office with just one or two people. Mosiman says they will continue checking to be sure the counties are following proper procedures as the move through their regular audits.