Discussion of five updates designed to lock down Douglas County’s purchasing policies in the wake of the theft of more than $1 million in tires goes before county commissioners today.
The Douglas County Audit Committee recommended approval of the updates on Monday, Chief Financial Officer Terri Willoughby said.
County commissioners meet 1 p.m. today at the historic Douglas County Courthouse in Minden. While the meeting will be live-streamed, Zoom access has been terminated due to the lifting of state directives prompted by the coronavirus.
Willoughby said the updates will resolve many of the findings from the 2019-20 grand jury and auditors.
She said that while approval by county commissioners will move updates forward, keeping them current into the future will continue.
“It will be an ongoing effort to make sure that all of the policies remain up to date in the future and that the county is in compliance,” she said. “In order to do this, each policy will be updated annually.”
The updates include addition of a cash handling policy, review of the payment card industry compliance policy, the inventory process policy, the gifts and minor donation policy and the accounts receivable policy.
A grand jury was called in 2019 to review the issues stemming from the Tiregate thefts after the Attorney General’s Office declined prosecution in the case.
According to their report, the county discovered the thefts March 20, 2017, when Motor Pool Supervisor Chris Oakden was on vacation. Oakden was fired by the county on April 17, 2017, and was killed in a vehicle collision a week later while on his way to talk to state investigators.
Investigators determined that Oakden used his position to embezzle more than $1 million over a six-year period.
On Dec. 21, 2018, the Nevada Attorney General’s Office reviewed the state investigation and declined to prosecute anyone in the case, saying that Oakden’s death essentially closed the case. The 2019-20 grand jury came to the same conclusion.
“New policies, separation of duties, and internal auditor, intense DA investigations followed by personnel resignations and terminations have put to rest ‘Tiregate,’ but (it’s) a reminder to everyone, a determined thief will find a way to steal,” the grand jury concluded.