Report highlights concerns with travel, calendar, vehicle purchases, payroll and personnel procedures
State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released an audit of the Missouri lieutenant governor’s office during the 17 months that Michael Parson held that office before being sworn in as governor.
The auditor's office conducts audits of any statewide office's operations when an officeholder leaves. The report gave a rating of "fair."
The audit found the lieutenant governor was reimbursed with taxpayer dollars to use his personal vehicle to attend entertainment events that did not appear necessary to office operations or a reasonable use of state funds. The office did not maintain documentation supporting the business purposes of these trips. In addition, the office did not retain a complete, accessible calendar of the lieutenant governor's activities.
The lieutenant governor's office, which had five to six full-time employees during the audit period, purchased two vehicles in late 2017 and early 2018, at an approximate cost of $33,000. The report indicated the office did not prepare documentation justifying the purchase of the vehicles, and the need for the vehicles was questionable because they were infrequently used. The office also did not maintain complete usage logs for the vehicles, one of which was sold after June 1, 2018.
The audit found that payroll and timekeeping procedures were not adequate. In one case, an intern was paid $2,330 without time sheets to support the hours worked. The audit also found the office did not perform criminal background screenings on all employees, prepare employee job descriptions for some employees, or promptly remove state computer user accounts for terminated employees.
In addition, the office purchased several items through employee reimbursements, rather than the normal purchasing process or state-issued purchasing cards. In one instance, an employee was reimbursed $525 twice for the same item purchased. After audit staff discussed this issue with office personnel, the former employee reimbursed the state for the overpayment.