Drug Task Force gets thorough audit

Posted By | July 31, 2008 12:00 am

A recent audit conducted by the state’s comptroller’s office noted several problems with recordkeeping and distribution of funds.
The 13th Judicial Drug Task Force, which includes White and Putnam counties, as well as several surrounding counties, was “written up” during an audit that itemized each flaw and recommended procedures to remedy the problems.
According to the report, purchase orders were not always issued for items that were purchased.
 Putnam County executive office administers purchasing for the Judicial District Drug Task Force Fund under procedures adopted by the Putnam County Commission. These procedures require the issuance of purchase orders.
However, the office did not issue purchase orders for some of the task force purchases. According to the report, this documentation is necessary to control who has purchasing authority for the task force and to keep track of the items that are bought.
 In another finding, the task force purchased, in prior years, several laptop computers with funds from methamphetamine grants.  These computers were assigned to officers at various law enforcement agencies in the district who attended meth training provided by the task force. Each officer acknowledged receipt of the computer, and the computers are listed on the equipment inventory. But, the task force had not required the officers to account for the laptops since they were assigned to them.
The state recommended a periodic verification of the inventory list.
Drug Task Force purchasing procedures were also noted in the audit.
Competitive bids were not solicited for the design and printing of 125,000 methamphetamine drug education handbooks at a cost of $55,000 and for the purchase of computers and accessories ($13,586). As required by law, all purchases exceeding $5,000, are  to be made on the basis of competitive bids solicited through advertisement in a local newspaper.
The state recommended all purchases exceeding $5,000 should be competitively bid.
In addition, certain transactions of the task force were not channeled through the Putnam County trustee’s office. Also, transactions related to the sale of methamphetamine information toolkits were not recorded in the accounting records of the specified fund. Therefore, bank statements were not reconciled with a general ledger, and balances were determined by confirmation and alternative auditing procedures, according to the audit.
Collections from the sale of the methamphetamine information toolkits were not deposited to the office bank account within three days of collection. Section 5-8-207, Tennessee Code Annotated, requires all funds to be deposited within three days of collection.
The audit also noted where an employee had used personal funds to purchase items for the meth task force, but was later reimbursed. These funds totaled $19,619. These purchases included computers and accessories, freight charges, business cards, booth rental, office equipment, warehouse rental, and electricity for the warehouse.
 The state recommended employees should not use personal funds for business purposes and that purchase orders should be issued for these items.  
The meth task force also disbursed grant funds to the two sub-recipients without monitoring the use of the funds.
The approved budget for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Methamphetamine Grant included a “pass-through” amount of $35,000 for the Upper Cumberland Community Services Agency and $5,000 for the Middle Tennessee Court Appointed State Advocacy.
The meth task force did not monitor the sub-recipients’ use of these federal funds to ensure they were used for authorized purposes in compliance with laws, regulations, and provisions of contracts or grant agreements.
This report and others may be found on the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s Web site.

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