County purchasing problems persist | RecordCourier.com

County purchasing problems persist

An audit of the county’s purchasing found that the purchasing policy is neither current nor comprehensive only two years after the revelation that a county employee had looted around $1 million from public coffers.

The policy was originally drafted a decade ago and a more recent version is only a single page and does not provide adequate guidance, auditor Moss Adams found.

Douglas County commissioners are scheduled to hear the report today at their regular meeting in Minden.

“The purchasing P&Ps do not include any guidance for purchases that are less than $25,000, therefore, departments can make purchases that do not exceed this threshold without any due diligence or documentation justifying the reasonableness of the purchase,” auditors said in a report to Douglas County commissioners that’s scheduled to be heard today. “The current process of purchasing and receiving goods does not require segregation between the two functions, which creates the opportunity for items to be ordered and stolen.”

A grand jury has been convened to investigate the theft of $1 million in tires using that very method.

The audit recommends comprehensive purchasing policies and procedures to ensure the county’s fund are well spent.

“Every level of purchase, including those under $25,000 should require some form of due diligence by departments,” the report said.

Auditors recommended that purchasers must be separate from those receiving goods.

The also found that five people who weren’t county employees had purchasing cards. The users were contractors or board members who were not required to sign an agreement showing they knew the proper use of the cards.

According to the audit, the county’s accounting department isn’t always notified when an employee is terminated so they can cancel a P card.

In one instance, a card wasn’t cancelled until two weeks after an employee’s last day and a recurring charge hit a week later.

County officials agreed with the report and said they are working to implement the recommendations. When the county responded, officials were working on a new purchasing policy they’d hoped would be done by the end of this year.

The internal controls audit was a recommendation of the previous grand jury as a result of the Tiregate thefts.

Douglas County commissioners meet 1 p.m. today at the historic Douglas County Courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden.