County implementing audit report
While a presentation on the county’s audit was delayed, county officials said they haven’t been idle in implementing recommendations in the report.
“Although a new purchasing policy is not yet complete, we have made tremendous progress in this area,” County Manager Patrick Cates said on Thursday.
In an updated report, Chief Financial Officer Terri Willoughby listed changes made by the Finance Department to improve the county’s internal controls.
She said that the Public Works Department is performing random quarterly inventory checks with a complete county occurring annually.
Purchasing responsibility has been transferred to a specialist to segregate duties and all purchase orders are being reviewed for compliance with existing policies.
Willoughby said she is reviewing all payment requests $10,000 or more to make sure they are properly documented.
“Finance staff have begun the implementation of the review of purchases on a countywide basis rather than by each department to ensure compliance with Nevada law and purchasing policies,” she said. “For example, the county entered into an annual contract with U.S. Foods because several departments were purchasing individually.”
An accounting and purchasing specialist has been working in the county since July.
“This position has provided valuable oversight over the purchasing process and has become a valuable recourse for county departments,” Willoughby said.
The use of purchasing cards has been tightened up with limits lowered to $5,000. Card purchases are routinely reviewed to see if vendor accounts should be opened to determine if annual purchase orders would be an alternative.
The finance staff and county human resources have established a notification process to let them know when an employee will be terminated so the cardholder access can be eliminated.
Willoughby said her staff has determined if there is a business need for non-employees to have purchasing cards, and cancelled the cards where there isn’t.
She said that while Minden-Tahoe Airport staff doesn’t actually work for the county some of those employees have a need for a purchasing card. Those employees must follow the same standards as the county.
County commissioners could see a new purchasing policy early next year.
The audit conducted by the firm Moss Adams was in response to around $1 million in tire thefts from the county over a half-dozen years.
A grand jury has been empaneled to follow up on the a Nevada Department of Investigation report issued in the wake of the Tiregate thefts.
The principal, county Vehicle Maintenance Director Chris Oakden, was killed in a car wreck on his way to talk to state detectives in April 2017.
The county asked state and federal officials to pursue the case, but the Nevada Attorney General declined to prosecute anyone listed in the report in December 2018. That decision was not revealed until The Record-Courier asked about the status of the investigation and learned it had been terminated.