06/25/04 — Clerk's audit finds minor flaw

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Clerk's audit finds minor flaw

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on June 25, 2004 1:58 PM

A semi-annual audit of the Wayne County Clerk of Courts Office has disclosed a minor flaw in the way it maintains bank records.

The audit, conducted for the period of Oct. 1, 2003 to March 31, noted that only two employees, the head bookkeeper and her deputy, were involved in cash payouts and the reconciliation of bank statements.

"This inadequate segregation of duties relating to the cash disbursement and bank reconciliation functions could adversely affect the clerk's ability to detect errors and irregularities in a timely manner," said the report, signed by State Auditor Ralph Campbell.

Clerk of Court Marshall Minchew said he has directed another person, independent of the bookkeeping staff, to reconcile bank statements.

Minchew said this was the first finding against his office in the six years that he has been the clerk. He said the finding "puzzled us" and he was "surprised because this (practice) had gone on for so many years and never had been a problem." He said previous clerks had reconciled bank statements in the same manner.

Minchew also said he "was completely satisfied" with the work of head bookkeeper Glenda Wells, a 20-year veteran of the clerk's office, and her deputy, Beth Hawkins.

Since the audit, Karrie Riggs, the jury duty clerk, has assumed the added responsibility of reconciling bank statements. She had worked at a financial institution before joining the clerk's office.

The objective of the fiscal control audit, the report said, was to gather and evaluate evidence about selected internal control policies and procedures designed to ensure reliable financial accounting and reporting and-or compliance with finance-related laws and regulations.

Minchew noted that the audit took less than two weeks -- less than half the time of previous audits.

"We've always tried to run the office as accurately as we can," Minchew said. "This has never been a problem."

"As far as accountability goes, there are no problems in the clerk's office," he said.