GLASGOW – State auditors made four comments about the 2018 Metcalfe County Fiscal Court audit, which was released last week.
State law requires audits of county fiscal courts each year and as part of the auditing process the auditor must comment on noncompliance with laws, regulations, contracts and grants, as well as material weaknesses involving internal control over financial operations and reporting.
The comments were detailed in a press release from State Auditor Mike Harmon’s office.
The first comment was in regard to the fiscal court’s schedule of expenditures of federal grant awards not being accurate. A second one said the fiscal court lacks adequate control over grant reporting to ensure compliance with grant requirements.
The third comment was that the fiscal court lacks proper controls over disbursements, leading to instances where the county received reimbursement twice for the same work, and the fourth comment made was that the fiscal court paid contractors more than contracted amounts and did not have documented change orders.
It was also mentioned in the press release that one reason for some of the issues was a lack of communication between the county treasurer and the emergency management director.
“Those were things that happened in a previous administration,” said Judge-Executive Harold Stilts. “It’s just some things that I looked at and my comments to them was I was going to correct any situations that occurred in that audit 2017-18 and keep oversight over what’s going on with the situations that they outlined there.”
Stilts was elected judge-executive in November 2018, succeeding Greg Wilson.
Wilson was unaware of the release of the audit report.
“Without seeing it, I’d rather not make a comment,” he said.
Stilts pointed out that Wilson did not have a county road supervisor after Roger Poynter, who held the position, died in March 2017.
“He (Wilson) never did hire one. He was going to act as road supervisor,” Stilts said, adding that state auditors noted that the reason for some of the comments they made in the audit was because the county did not have a road supervisor to oversee the work that was being done.
“When I came on board in January, I hired a road supervisor, so I’ve got a road supervisor in place to have oversight over any contract work that is going on or anything to make sure it’s getting done like it’s supposed to be and that it’s bid.”
Emory Kidd, emergency management director, said he has seen the audit report and acknowledged that there were some things in the audit report that specifically mentions emergency management.
At first Kidd, said he had no comment to make, but then he said: “The audit report talks about the stuff that people didn’t have or chose not to have, and it looks bad toward emergency management, my department. I’ll be the first to say that, but I have documentation showing most of the stuff I had never heard of. The SEFA (Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards) report — that was one of the big things. I had never heard of a SEFA report. That is strictly a treasurer’s document.”
Kidd continued to say that Kentucky Emergency Management has sent Stilts a letter.
“There’s four issues that they have some concerns with, dealing specifically with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) money. We are in the process of working up a response to those,” he said. “I think one of the things was taking money … double-dipping. I wasn’t the road foreman. I did not have access to what the judge or the treasurer was doing for other monies. There was a bad breakdown in communication. I’m not going to say it was intentional. I’m not going to say it was any more one than the other, but there are a lot of things that I have learned since that audit report came back that has made me question a lot of things.”
Kidd pointed out that Vickie Stephens has been county treasurer since 2008.
“Why all of a sudden did the SEFA report get done wrong,” he said. “Why have we had clean audits as long as we’ve had a private auditor. There’s lots of questions I have that haven’t been answered yet either. I’ve read it. I am 100 percent sure that emergency management, the part that I’m solely responsible for, was done above board. I have no concerns with that.”
He went on to say that state auditors meet with everyone, but only certain people are given an opportunity to make a comment regarding the audit report.
“In my case, emergency management did not have an opportunity to comment in the final report,” Kidd said. “It’s ugly. I’ll be the first to say that and it concerns the fire out of me because I know there’s lots of money that could have to be paid back because of it, and I don’t know when it started or why it started. But I know I’ve gone back through some records I’ve had all the way through 2010 and looking at different things.
“I know what I had control of was done right.”
Stephens issued a written statement regarding the audit report.
“Metcalfe County Fiscal Court has a history of excellent and thorough financial reporting and audits. As in Judge Stilts’ response to the audit, going forward, the judge will see that the emergency management director and his staff provide the county Treasurer with all the required documentation needed for accurate reporting. Kentucky Emergency Management has been provided a copy of the auditor findings, supporting documentation for adjustments and will provide follow up,” she said.
Stephens continued that all financial reporting on behalf of the fiscal court should be prepared by the office of the treasurer (and) approved by the fiscal court, according to state laws and as required by the Kentucky Counties Uniform System of Accounting prescribed by the state local finance officer.