Auditor Of Public Accounts
State Auditor Crit Luallen Releases 2004 and 2005 Audits of Laurel County Sheriff’s Office. Twenty Six Findings over Two Years – Over $80,000 Deficit
State Auditor Crit Luallen today released the audits of the 2004 and 2005 financial statements of the Laurel County Sheriff, Gene Hollon. State law requires the Auditor to conduct annual audits of county clerks and sheriffs. The two audits reported fourteen comments in calendar year 2004 and twelve in the year ending December 31, 2005. As part of the audit process, the Auditors must comment on non-compliance with laws, regulations, contracts and grants. Auditors must also comment on material weaknesses involving the internal control over financial operations and reporting.
The Sheriff’s office had a cumulative deficit of $81,271 as of December 31, 2005. A deficit over $39,000 was reported in 2004 and over $30,000 in 2005. A previously reported 2003 deficit of $11,100 is still unpaid. The deficit is due the Laurel County Fiscal Court and the audits recommend that the Sheriff deposit personal funds in the official bank accounts for the fees to make up the deficit. Sheriff Gene Hollon responded in the audit that he “understood and is working with Fiscal Court to eliminate the deficit(s).”
The Sheriff’s office should also review health insurance billings to ensure proper premiums are paid on appropriate employees. In 2004, $7,444 in health insurance premiums was paid on behalf of employees who were no longer employed at the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office. In 2005, the total insurance premiums paid on behalf of employees that had been terminated or had left employment was $4,411.
Additional audit findings are that the Sheriff should: maintain proper documentation for all expenditures and avoid paying late fees and interest, maintain time records on all employees, implement payroll procedures to ensure payroll records more accurately reconcile to the appropriate reports and billings, and strengthen internal controls over the bank reconciliation process and employee time record keeping.
“ We hope to see, and are expecting, improvements in the next annual audit of the Sheriff’s Office,” said State Auditor Crit Luallen.
The Sheriff’s responsibilities include collecting property taxes, providing law enforcement and performing services for the county fiscal court and courts of justice. The Sheriff’s office is funded through statutory commissions and fees collected in conjunction with these duties.