Ozark County, Mo. leaders disappointed with state audit

OZARK COUNTY, Mo. -- FAIR - that's the rating Ozark County received in its latest state audit. County leaders tell KY3 they are disappointed with the audit's findings.

The audit released Wednesday identified accounting and procedural concerns in numerous county offices, including the sheriff, County Assessor and County Clerk . The audit also pointed out taxing mix-ups dating back to 2016.

"I'm not happy with some of the things that they put in a summary, that was never discussed with us to begin with," said Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed.

The first section of the audit focuses on the sheriff's department: It says the sheriff inadequately supervises or reviews detailed accounting and bank records.

"It's hogwash. Either myself or my chief deputy signs every check that goes through this office," Sheriff Reed explained.

The state suggested segregating accounting duties.

Sheriff Reed says that's easier said then done.

"I have a recommendation for Ms. Galloway, Reed added. Send me more money down here, where I can double my staff, where I can do all the things she is wanting done, because we can't afford it."

The audit also harped on the department's lack of control and procedures over seized property, inmates' monies and inventory procedures for e-cigarettes and phone cards sold to inmates.

In response, Sheriff Reed says they are looking to de-clutter their seized property room, all inmate money is now handled with a local bank, and commissary for inmates is contracted through a third party vendor.

"We're doing the best job down here with what we have to work with," Sheriff Reed exclaimed.

The remainder of the audit says the county did not properly report property tax levy reductions to the State Auditor's Office in 2016 and the County Clerk used an incorrect tax rate ceiling during sales tax reduction calculations for 2017.

The audit goes on to say proper procedures for receipting and transmitting monies was not properly established by the County Assessor, plus money was not always sent on time from the County Clerk to the County Treasurer as required by state law.

"Well we obviously don't agree with all their findings but there was no malfeasance, nobody stealing from the county," said Ozark County Presiding Commissioner Johnnie Turner.

Turner agrees things can be missed with few employees.

"It's hard to separate those responsibilities out with two or three people," Turner told KY3.

Gene Britt says he's confident the next audit will show improvement.

"Well a little disappointed with the fair rating. I know it could be better but it's not the worst, Britt stated. I'm very confident in the people that we have in positions in our county officials, that they'll work hard to improve what they need to improve on. I feel confident that the next time we have an audit, that things will be right where they need to be."

The complete audit can be found here:
https://app.auditor.mo.gov/Repository/Press/2019101344645.pdf

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.