Included in series of Clay County audits, clerk’s office gets ‘good’ rating

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LIBERTY, Mo. — The Clay County Clerk’s Office received the second-highest rating of “good” in an audit released Monday by Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway.

The report is the first of several Galloway’s office will release as part of the citizen-driven and mandated audit of Clay County.

More than 9,000 Clay County citizens — concerned about mismanagement of taxpayers’ funds, lack of transparency, and poor internal administrative procedures — signed a petition in 2018 requesting Galloway’s office audit the county.

Clay County spent thousands of taxpayers’ dollars in a failed effort to block Galloway’s audit.

In her report issued Monday, Galloway found that Clay County Clerk Megan Thompson’s Office is “well managed,” but noted three areas that need additional checks and balances:

·      Accounting for receipts: “The County Clerk’s office does not account for the numerical sequence of cash register receipt slips and does not retain receipt slips produced by the cash register for non-sale transactions or voided transactions,” the audit stated.

·      Untimely transmittal: “The County Clerk’s office did not always transmit receipts timely to the County Treasurer,” the audit noted. “For 3 transmittals tested from June 7 to June 21, 2019, totaling $37,388, receipts totaling $6,147 were held more than one week before transmittal to the County Treasurer. An official from the County Clerk’s office stated the delays may have been due to the office being short-staffed during that period;”

·      Endorsement of checks: “County Clerk’s office personnel do not restrictively endorse checks immediately upon receipt,” the audit stated. “During our January 7, 2020, cash count, we noted 7 checks received between December 31, 2019, and January 6, 2020, totaling $564, had not been endorsed. While the County Clerk’s office maintains an endorsement stamp, office personnel indicated they do not endorse checks until transmitting the checks to the County Treasurer for deposit.

The audit concluded those issues could increase the risks of loss or theft and misuse of monies could go undetected.

Thompson told FOX4 that her office has already taken preventative steps to address the auditor’s concerns.

“We were happy to receive the second-highest possible rating and implement some additional proactive measures to further reduce the chances of something bad happening in the Clerk’s Office,” she said.

Thompson’s office collects fees for various permits and applications that totaled between $300,000 and $400,000 over the past two fiscal years. 

 “Every elected officeholder in charge of taxpayer money should welcome the transparency of independent audits and public oversight,” Thompson added.

Galloway said audits are still on-going for the Clay County Collector’s office, Sheriff’s Department, Recorder’s Office, and the County Commission.

A legal battle, however, is still moving through the courts for records that Galloway’s office subpoenaed last November from the Clay County Commission.

A FOX4 investigation in 2018 uncovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees for outside attorneys, questionable expenses on the county’s credit card, and internal procedures that many said did not protect taxpayers’ money.

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