Auditor Logo Susan Montee

Report No. 2010-12
January 2010

Complete Audit Report

The following findings were included in our audit report of the Taney County Ambulance District.

Upon retirement on June 30, 2009, the Board approved paying the former Administrator $78,105 in wages and benefits, some of which does not appear to be required by his employment contract, and there was no documentation of why excess amounts were paid. Additionally, the Board also approved allowing the former Administrator to purchase his cell phone for $10 and to obtain continuing education from the district at no cost.

The district has not established written pay scales for employees, and salary disbursements have increased significantly in the last 4 years. Between 2004 and 2008 salary disbursements have increased by approximately $900,000 (45 percent) without a significant increase in the number of personnel. According to district personnel, prior to voters approving the 1/4-cent sales tax in 2002 (which provides the district approximately $1.4 million more annually in revenues than the prior property tax levy) the district was not in good enough financial condition to adequately compensate personnel.

The district has not adequately managed its cash flow to prevent unnecessary interest costs on borrowed funds. On December 31, 2008, the district had cash and investments totaling approximately $880,000, and should consider paying off debt early. Additionally, the district uses more than one bank and does not have a written agreement with its depository banks, and has not solicited proposals for banking services.

The district does not have a formal purchasing policy. Some items were not bid or adequate bid documentation was not retained during the years ended December 31, 2008 and 2007; examples include bulk fuel ($150,130), laptop computers ($51,774), and an ambulance ($49,980). Also, the district maintains contracts for several types of professional services, but does not have a policy addressing solicitation of these services.

Several weaknesses were identified with the procedures and controls over district spending. The Board's review and approval of district disbursements is not adequate, and some payments are processed without adequate supporting documentation. Additionally, the district has not established a comprehensive food policy regarding district provided food, and some disbursements reviewed did not appear to be necessary uses of district funds. For example, in 2009, 2008, and 2007, the district spent $4,265, $4,260, and $3,929, respectively, for food and entertainment for the annual employee banquet, and during 2008 and 2007, the district paid $3,800 for promotional items, including basketballs, backpacks, pens, key chains, plastic footballs, wrist bands, and tumblers which were given to district employees and the general public. Also, Board approval is not required for the redemption of investments, and some credit card and purchase card procedures need improvement.

The district did not withhold and properly remit payroll taxes on employee deferred compensation contributions resulting in the payment of $34,714, including delinquent payroll taxes ($10,841), interest ($2,006), and penalties ($21,867). Additionally, duties are not adequately segregated to provide the necessary internal controls over the payroll function, and some payments made to employees may violate the Missouri Constitution. Improvement is also needed in other payroll related areas.

The district needs better controls over the recording, posting, and securing of monies received, including improvements to the district's computerized billing system, to provide better accountability over monies received.

Weaknesses in the area of accounts receivables included inadequate segregation of duties, delays in Medicare billings, and failing to adequately pursue Veterans Administration collections.

The Board's procedures for conducting and documenting meetings need improvement. The Board did not document how some issues discussed and votes taken in closed meetings were allowable under the Sunshine Law. Additionally, open meeting minutes did not always include sufficient detail of matters discussed, and the Board conducted a telephone vote without a quorum present at the meeting location, in violation of state law.

Procedures and controls over district vehicles need improvement. Four vehicles assigned to district employees are housed at their homes rather than at the district office, and are used for commuting purposes. The district does not have a written vehicle usage policy and has not documented an analysis to determine the value of commuting benefits provided to the employees or to support reasons for vehicle assignments to employees. Additionally, personal commuting mileage is not properly reported and taxed. Although the district maintains fuel logs, the logs do not list destinations traveled or operation and maintenance costs, and do not distinguish between business and personal use. The Operations Manager uses his assigned district vehicle while serving as Taney County Coroner, and there is no written agreement between the district and the county to use the district's vehicle for county business. In addition, accountability over fuel purchases need improvement.

The district's budgets do not include some information required by state law.

Complete Audit Report
Missouri State Auditor's Office