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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • State auditor: Prosecutor payments violate state law

  • Ralls County is in violation of state law because of additional payments it makes to its prosecuting attorney, according to an audit released Thursday by State Auditor Tom Schweich.


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  • Ralls County is in violation of state law because of additional payments it makes to its prosecuting attorney, according to an audit released Thursday by State Auditor Tom Schweich.
    Schweich reports the county commission pays Prosecuting Attorney Rodney J. Rodenbaugh an additional $14,400 annually to consult for the planning and zoning commission. The state auditor says these duties should be performed as part of his/her duties and should be covered by the base salary.
    County Clerk Ernie Duckworth says that Rodenbaugh was already serving as counsel for the planning and zoning commission when he was elected prosecuting attorney. Consequently “nobody gave it (Rodenbaugh serving both entities) any thought,” said Duckworth.
    “He was doing it the audit before this one and they didn’t mention it,” added the county clerk.
    Discussions on how best to resolve the payment situation are planned.
    “The commissioners want to see how other counties do it,” said Duckworth. “They’ll make it right.”
    Receipt procedures
    The audit also revealed that the sheriff’s office needs to improve receipting procedures. From July 2010 through November 2010, receipt slips were not always issued and the receipt ledger was not updated. The method of payment is not always indicated on receipt slips, the composition of receipts is not reconciled to the composition of deposits, the numerical sequence of receipt slips is not accounted for properly, and checks are not restrictively endorsed immediately.
    As noted in a prior audit report, the county needs to improve controls and procedures over the property tax system. Procedures over property tax additions and abatements are not properly segregated or monitored. Neither the county commission nor the county clerk reviews the activities of the county collector to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the county collector’s monthly and annual statements.
    The county does not maintain centralized records of leave balances and leave used and earned, and one employee had accumulated more than 70 hours compensatory time in 2010 when county policy only allowed for a maximum of 16.
    ‘Fair’ rating
    In the areas audited, the county’s overall performance was rated as “fair.” Schweich stressed that the overall rating is intended to reflect the performance of the county as a whole, not the performance of any one elected official or county office.
    “It is not as good as we’d like to have, but it’s better than poor,” said Duckworth of the rating.
    Because he was still reviewing the audit, which arrived at the courthouse on Wednesday, Presiding Commissioner Bob See declined to get into specifics. Overall, See had no complaints with how the auditing process was handled.
    “It was a fair audit in general. I was pleased with the way the auditors came in and conducted business. The county got a fair shake,” he said. “There are some issues the county will have to address and some we’ve already addressed. All in all I welcome the audit; audits are good for government and businesses. They show us areas where we need to be more diligent and pay more attention.”
    Page 2 of 2 - To view the complete report, citizens summary and audit rating scale, visit: http://auditor.mo.gov/view.aspx?id=201252 .
    State law requires the auditor to audit all counties that do not elect a county auditor.

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