n outside audit presented to the Platte County Commission on Monday confirms claims made by county auditor Siobhann Williams last month that there are problems with the county’s payroll department.
The outside audit prepared by Cochran Head Vick and Co. outlines several problems with the payroll department, including at least four files that lacked essential information that is necessary for verifying employee withholdings.
According to the report, the prior year it had been noted that at least seven files lacked the information and two instances where employees’ pay rate was not noted. Another file was not available for auditors because it was not maintained by the human resources department. A review of audits from the two prior years indicates the problem has been ongoing for at least the last couple of years.
The audit also notes that financial reporting and cash account reconciliations were also noted last year, and suggestions were recommended again.
In a story reported last week in The Landmark, Williams announced she is in the process of auditing the human resources department that oversees payroll and employee benefits.
Williams charged that she has had difficulties in obtaining information from the department. Williams also presented a 2007 memo to the commissioners where she outlined problems with the department.
Williams said the outside audit’s findings are a reflection of allegations made last month. She said she does not know why changes have not been made, despite several fingers pointing at the problem.
“It’s surely not because I haven’t been making a lot of noise, because I’ve been making a lot of noise,” Williams said.
Williams admits her noise- making has ruffled a few feathers around the county administration building, however, she said the county’s biggest expenditure is worth making noise about.
“A big, big part of the county’s budget is payroll,” she said. “So it’s important that it be right.”
The audit found other issues. According to the audit there were certain instances where reconciliations provided did not agree with the county’s general ledger. Williams said new software and easier to maneuver spreadsheets have been implemented to improve accuracy.
Furthermore, she said information is being collected on a regular basis as opposed to waiting until the end of the year to collect everything. She said it not only makes her office’s job easier but it also makes life easier on the individual departments.
“It’s still kind of new so every year we work on that. We work to make that process a little smoother,” Williams told The Landmark on Tuesday.
“In the first year we found ourselves trying to go back and get a bunch of information for the whole year. Now we’re trying to get as we go.”
Williams said similar to the reconciliations, some of the same problems are being experienced with financial reporting. Williams said with new auditors and new procedures the county has made great strides.
“As far as the prior period corrections go, we believe we’ve caught everything that needs to be caught or we would still be working on it,” she said.
Last year the outside audit suggested that changes be made to the county’s grant programs. Williams said all grant information is presented to her office as departments deal with the paperwork, although she said her office has not reviewed much of the material because of a lack of manpower.
County commissioners made no public comment after the presentation other than to say they appreciated the auditor spending time with them to educate them on the findings.
Auditor David Cochran did note that all requested materials were presented and all department heads cooperated fully.