Auditor Galloway finds progress in follow-up review of Winona Municipal Court

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway released a follow-up report on the City of Winona Municipal Division, part of the Thirty-Seventh Judicial Circuit in southeast Missouri.

She reports the city made progress on several findings and referenced future plans to close the municipal division.

"Many of the findings in our previous audit of the Winona Municipal Division found not enough was done to account for and safeguard public resources," Auditor Galloway said. "I commend city officials for taking our recommendations seriously and working to ensure better oversight over taxpayer dollars."

The previous audit found the city owed the state of Missouri for excess traffic violation collections because officials miscalculated general operating revenue. State law requires Missouri cities to send to the Department of Revenue any revenues from fines, bond forfeitures and court costs for minor traffic and municipal ordinance violations that exceed 20 percent of general operating revenue. The follow-up review found the city paid for the excess revenues due to the state for 2017 and has plans to pay for excess revenues collected in 2018. The city still owes more than $20,000 for 2016, but officials indicated they are waiting to take action until after the conclusion of criminal proceedings involving the former city clerk.

A separate audit of the City of Winona discovered missing money and suspicious activity over several years. The former city clerk was charged with receiving stolen property in December. A follow-up review of the city is underway.

The follow-up of the municipal division also found city officials are working to implement better oversight of accounting duties and money collected by the court. The city has also taken action to better document the disposition of cases in both manual and electronic records.

In total, auditors identified nine areas of concern to evaluate during the follow-up review. Three recommendations were implemented. For four other recommendations, progress has been made or recommendations were partially implemented. Recommendations for two findings had not been addressed, and no specific plans had been made to act on the recommendations.

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