Tire thefts tread through county budget
The tracks of more than $500,000 in stolen tires could be seen through a discussion of Douglas County’s budget policies on Monday.
Until the Great Recession, Douglas County had a central purchasing department.
Chief Financial Officer Vicki Moore said that department was eliminated in 2010 and purchasing was distributed to individual county departments.
More than 400 commercial truck tires that don’t fit any county vehicles were purchased during 2016-17. Parallel investigations are being conducted into the thefts by the Nevada Department of Investigation and the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.
“I’m not sure we need a department, as much as have one or two individuals all purchasing should go through,” commissioner Nancy McDermid said. “If what we had was too much before, maybe what we have now is too little.”
Commission Chairman Barry Penzel agreed with her.
“Since we eliminated that department in the downturn, do we want to reinvigorate that department?”
Penzel said he felt the update on the county’s strategic plan should have included progress toward policies designed to prevent future thefts.
In late September, the county reported the thefts were uncovered in March 2017. The county manager issued a list of steps the county was taking to prevent further thefts.
Penzel said the plan should have included updates on where the county was on that process.
According to the county manager, the county has conducted an internal audit and inventory of tire purchases and strengthened internal financial controls, and hired a Northern Nevada accounting firm to inventory tires and supplies used in the maintenance of county vehicles.
“We hired an organization to do internal audits,” Penzel said. “Where are we in that process? That is a critical item in our strategic plan. We were going to have training. Where was that in our strategic plan? I get really frustrated. The public wants to know about things. We don’t have any more information. You can address the things that the county manager addressed, but we’re not doing that. We’re not sweeping things under the rug, we’re bringing them out.”
Moore said the county financial department audited the motor pool after the thefts were uncovered.