Fulton corrects issues revealed in audit report

Fulton corrects issues revealed in audit report
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
Three significant defic-iencies and a noncompliance issue noted in the City of Fulton’s annual audit have been corrected to prevent future problems.
Fulton Mayor Elaine Forrester told The Messen-ger all of the issues from the audit have been addressed and corrected, emphasizing there are no problems now.
“It’s all been corrected,” she said today.
The city’s annual audit was presented during Monday night’s Fulton City Commission meeting. It was issued by certified public accounting firm Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC, represented at the lengthy meeting by David Hart.
Copies were distributed to the mayor and commissioners, as well as the city attorney, city manager and the city’s chief financial officer and city clerk. Hart presented a brief overview and asked for any questions from the commission, but none were posed.
he period of July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011.
The findings and recommendations listed in the audit report included:
• Internal controls over cash (significant deficiency) — A former employee in a supervisory position was cashing personal checks from the city’s cash drawers on a regular basis.
The audit noted the city could suffer from the misuse or loss of collections due to check bouncing or misappropriation of funds. It was recommended the city adopt a policy that prohibits checks from being cashed through the cash drawers.
The city’s response indicated it has always been city policy that no one cashes their own checks from the cash drawers. It is now city policy that no checks will be cashed.
• No oversight on the distribution of gift cards (significant deficiency) — The city handed out gift cards to employees, but not all gift cards were accounted for. A former city employee in a supervisory position handed out the gift cards, but did not furnish the chief financial officer (CFO) an accurate list of who and what was given. A list was put together by the CFO and other department heads, but still not all of them were accounted for.
According to the audit, the city has no way of knowing who received the gift cards or how many they were given. It was recommended that if the city would like to give gift cards to the employees, a sheet be made listing each gift card and the employee come to a central location to receive the gift card and sign the sheet next to the gift card they receive.
The city’s response was that the city now has each recipient sign for any gift cards received. The estimated loss was collected from the employee upon resignation.
• Personal fuel and credit card charges (significant deficiency) — A former city employee in a supervisory position was purchasing gas for his own personal use and in his own personal vehicle. He also purchased personal supplies with a city credit card.
The audit noted good controls over the accounting function should be adequately segregated to ensure internal controls are working effectively, noting the City of Fulton has those in place and, therefore, was able to establish that the city employee had allegedly started to purchase double and triple the amount of gas that was normal in a monthly period. They also allowed the CFO to confirm the employee was allegedly making personal charges on a city credit card.
According to the audit, the city could suffer from the misuse or loss due to the misappropriation and use of fuel purchased with city funds and supplies purchased for personal use. It was recommended the city should establish a policy stating fuel purchases made for other than city use or in a vehicle owned by the city is prohibited, as is the use of city credit cards for personal use.
In its response, the city indicated it has always been city policy for city vehicles to be fueled at a local vendor and credit cards prohibited for personal use. The only fuel purchased on city cards is during authorized travel out of town. The estimated loss was collected from the employee upon resignation.
• Circumventing city policy (noncompliance) — A former city employee in a supervisory position was allowed to sell back to the city part of his vacation time twice in one year by the former mayor.
The city has a vacation policy which states employees may elect to convert accrued vacation leave into cash instead of actual time off, but only half of any accrued leave may be converted to cash and may be done once in a calendar year. It also requires permission from the personnel officer.
The audit reported the former mayor allegedly “circumvented the city’s own policy” by allowing the former city employee to do something that is explicitly prohibited and it was recommended the city follow its own set policies.
The city’s response was that the city will follow policy from now on.
A copy of the city’s audit report is also available for public review at Fulton City Hall. Published in The Messenger 1.12.12

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