Jefferson County Commission to Undergo Audit After Clerk Raises Internal Controls Concerns | Newspaper

CHARLES TOWN – The Jefferson County Commission has come under fire after a dispute over the county’s internal administration.

At the center of the problem is Jefferson County Clerk Jacki Shadle, who recently wrote in an op-ed for The Journal that she believed there was a lack of internal oversight and control over the county’s finances. As she explained in her article, the county uses a software system to manage all aspects of the county’s finances, and only two people have full access to the county’s financial records – she is neither the one nor the one. other.

“He is the financial director of the departmental commission and the IT director of the departmental commission,” she wrote. “These people can change, alter or amend any financial aspect within the county, including the budget information of other elected officials in the county, without any control by any other person within the county. This is not only a violation of the law because the clerk is the county accountant, but this raises serious concerns about internal controls over taxpayer dollars. “

As a result, the county commission asked the state to conduct an internal controls audit. Scheduled for the week of Jan. 3, the audit will be conducted by five of the state’s top auditors, JCC President Steve Stolipher said on Tuesday.

“We’ll see if we need to adjust our internal controls,” he explained, “and if the audit finds that we need it, we will. If the auditor says (Shadle) should have access full, give it full access. “

While Shadle noted in her editorial that she was not aware of any misappropriation of funds by a county commission employee, she explained in an interview on Tuesday that this was not the first time she was trying to bring the issue to the attention of the public. This happened in 2019, when she hired a lawyer to write a letter to the commission outlining the problems she observed.

“I want to know who, exactly, controls what,” Shadle said Tuesday. “I think citizens should be aware of what is going on.”

Part of knowing what’s going on, she argued, is her ability to have full access to financial system data, which she said matches her ability to do her job. correctly.

“The clerk is responsible for keeping an accurate account to show the money and claims owed and by the county,” Shadle wrote. “How can I perform this function when two people have unrestricted access and control over financial information?” “

In a statement Monday, Commissioner Tricia Jackson agreed with Shadle, saying the policy “stifles Ms Shadle’s ability to carry out her statutory duties and responsibilities as an elected official.” In an interview on Tuesday, President Stolipher questioned Shadle’s ability to “arbitrarily have full access,” before pointing out that if the January audit determines Shadle should have exactly that, he would be happy to allow him to. to see her.

As to why he is not so supportive of allowing full access immediately, President Stolipher referred to the previous auditor’s office, which put the system in place.

“There is a reason it was set up like this,” he explained. “I just want to know why this is a problem right now.”

President Stolipher went on to note that he plans to address the issue at the next county commissioners meeting, which is scheduled for December 16. meeting of the departmental commission. Shadle, meanwhile, said on Tuesday that she would prefer a different framework to address the ongoing issues.

“I would prefer to have a special session, so that I can have their full attention,” she said. “No other items on the agenda, no other people injecting into the conversation. Just me and the commissioners.

“It’s something different for me,” she added. “It is important.”

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