Claremore Daily Progress

Government

August 5, 2012

Audit deficiencies nothing to dismiss

Rogers County received state’s worst audit rating it could receive in 2007

CLAREMORE — Oklahoma State Auditor Gary Jones is weighing in on the recent audits conducted in Rogers County.

Three years of audits were recently released for the county and a number of findings have caused concern among area residents.
Jones was eager to clarify the findings and inform the public about the significance of the audits. 
“This is a huge problem across the state,” Jones said. “We would not have put it [noted deficiencies] in our report if it wasn’t an issue.”
The issue goes back a number of years, Jones said. The previous auditor had not been conducting audits every two years as required.
This prompted his office to “catch up” on audits. 
The office has conducted 191 audits of 57 counties in the past 19 months.
“If we continue the same pace, we will be caught up in a year,” Jones said.
The backlog of audits created a belief that “work as usual” was OK. Since they did not have an audit,  they assumed they were following procedure, he said.
There was a misinterpretation of what was expected by the county, especially when dealing with FEMA funding, according to Jones.
Despite the lack of audits and confusion, county officials are still responsible for keeping track of records and following state statutes, Jones sadi.
The county received an adverse opinion in the 2007 audit, which is the worst rating they could receive, Jones added.
The 2008, 2009 and 2010 audits had both significant and material deficiencies. The audits were also considered to be “qualified.” 
All of the terms denote findings that are relevant and important to take seriously, Jones said.
The auditors, however, did not have enough information to issue an opinion so we had to issue a disclaimer.
This does not lessen the concern or limit the county’s responsibility. It just notes that the auditors could not find the required paperwork to substantiate the claims.

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