Missing documents stymie Loris auditors

By DEUCE NIVEN

& JENN CAUSEY

     Auditing City of Loris financial records for the 18-month period that ended nearly three years ago proved impossible for auditors contracted by the city because supporting documents are gone.

     That’s the message Mauldin & Jenkins manager Grant H. Davis, CPA, delivered during a special council session Wednesday.

     “Due to the destruction of accounting records and turnover in financial management personnel, we were unable to obtain accounting records which support the balances included in the financial statements,” the “Independent Auditor’s Report’ said.

     Missing records include “cash, receivables, revenue, accrued liabilities, inventory, prepaid items, capital assets, long-term debt, expenses/expenditures, and interfund balances and activity,” the report said.

     Auditors recommended improved staffing, maintain accounting records, provide timely records “to ensure the City is able to properly prepare annual financial statements,” the report said.

     Neither council, City Administrator Damon Kempski, nor Clerk/Treasurer Kenya Wright disputed the auditor’s findings during Wednesday’s public meeting. In the report the city said “We concur with the finding. Beginning immediately we will plan and apply adequate internal controls in order to ensure accurate financial information is maintained and annual financial statements can be prepared.”

     Segregation of duties was a weakness identified by auditors. Segregating duties means insuring that two or more people are involved in financial duties, including receiving or distributing cash, should be addressed by policies.

     “Without some segregation of duties within these functions; there is increased exposure that someone could intentionally or unintentionally misappropriate assets of the City,” the report said.

Shredded documents

     Kempski, the City Administrator, previously said financial documents had been shredded while Bridget Fowler was the city Clerk/Treasurer.

     Council members said they were not aware of the destruction of documents until well after it had taken place.

     However, council was informed of planned “document destruction” during an Oct. 3, 2016 meeting, that item on the council agenda.

     Look for more on this story in the next Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.