Van Buren County audit outlines multiple concerns and problems

County leaders must commit to fixing lingering issues

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(Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 @ 9 a.m.) - The Tennessee Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Audit has released the annual Van Buren County audit report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020. Comptroller auditors made nine findings in this year’s report; six of these problems were also noted in last year’s audit.

The findings, which outline significant deficiencies and matters of noncompliance, were made in the Offices of County Mayor, Road Superintendent, and Director of Schools.

The findings point to many concerns related to the county government’s handling of financial matters. These issues include cash overdrafts, failure to solicit competitive bids, unapproved contracts, expenditures exceeding appropriations, and several purchasing deficiencies.

Auditors also pointed out serious concerns with how beginning fund balances were presented to the county commission. In several cases, the actual amount of money in multiple county funds was well below the amount provided on documents to the county commission. County officials need accurate information to make good decisions.

The Comptroller’s Office has been actively working with Van Buren County in order to keep the county from experiencing continued financial distress. As part of that effort, county officials have been sending weekly financial reports to the Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Finance.

The county’s audit report also points out the importance of separating accounting responsibilities within the County Mayor’s Office and updating the county’s system of internal controls to secure public money and property.

“Van Buren County officials are well aware of the need to stabilize the county’s financial condition,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “It’s also vitally important to improve the county’s financial management. It is particularly concerning to me that the county’s audit committee did not even meet to review last year’s audit. It is time for county leaders to take serious and necessary action.”

To view the Van Buren County Audit Report click here.

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at 800.232.5454, or file a report online at: tncot.cc/fraud. Follow us on twitter: @TNCOT

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