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Audit uncovers errors in office of Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder

By   /   December 23, 2010  /   3 Comments

Staff members in the office of Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder failed to verify the mathematical accuracy of time sheets, plus they did not get independent approval of purchase transactions, a new audit report claims.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder

Errors in time records were not detected by the lieutenant governor’s staff because the information was not verified when time sheets were approved, according to the audit report released Thursday by Missouri Auditor Susan Montee.

In one instance noted, auditors uncovered 32 hours of used compensatory time that was added to the balance instead of subtracted, resulting in an overstatement of 64 hours.

Also, for one employee, the time sheet sick leave balance was 10 hours greather than the balance on SAM II, the state’s integrated financial, human resources and payroll system.

“To help ensure mathematical accuracy, the office should consider an electronic time sheet which calculates the ending balance for leave and compensatory time,” according to the audit report. “In addition, leave slips should be reconciled to time sheets, and time sheet leave balances should be reconciled to SAM II balances on a periodic basis.”

In a formal response included with the audit report, the office of the lieutenant governor said there was an error on an internal office form to track leave balances.

“Thankfully the diligent audit staff found the error in the form,” according to the response.

“However, the form was not the official time record for the office employees. The records set forth in SAM II constitute the officall time records of the employees. The internal office form was corrected as soon as the inconsistencies were noted and the audit staff stated that the matter was corrected.”

The audit report also criticizes the staff for the lack of independent approval of purchase transactions in SAM II.

“The chief of staff reviews and approves vendor invoices and other supporting documentation before the purchase is entered in SAM II; however, the director of administration both enters and approves all purchase transactions in SAM II,” according to the audit report. ‘The lack of an independent approval of SAM II purchase transactions increases the risk of errors occurring and remaining undetected, and misuse of funds.”

The audit recommends the office require independent approval of the expenditure transactions in SAM II.

“Independent approval of all purchase transactions was performed and to state otherwise is false,” according to the response by the lieutenant governor’s office included within the audit report. “All transactions were reviewed and approved prior to purchase and prior to entry for payment as confirmed by the audit staff as evidenced by staff initials and dates on each purchase and expenditure. Moreover, reconciliation was performed quarterly. All funds were accounted for to satisfaction and the auditor cannot identify one single instance otherwise.”

The auditor provides a comment after the response from the office, noting that while the audit did not identify instances where funds were not accounted for properly, this audit did not review every transaction.

“Audits are designed to examine and test selected transactions,” according to the audit report. “By allowing the director of administration to enter transactions in the SAM II without the subsequent approval of another party, there is an increased risk that inappropriate or unauthorized transactions could occur and go undetected.”

By Brian R. Hookbrhook@missouriwatchdog.org, (314) 482-7944

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Brian formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.