The City of Alexander overpaid a the city bookkeeper by a large amount, according to the results of a Legislative Audit. Thanks to The Alexander Post for bringing it to our attention. The overpayment was in 2021 under the previous City Administration, and the employee was terminated in October 2022. The details of the audit findings are listed below. See the text of the report summary below, as well images of the details.
LEGISLATIVE JOINT AUDITING COMMITTEE – ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE AUDIT – Financial and Compliance Report – Issued March 22, 2023.
Committee Members are Sen. Ronald Caldwell, Senate Chair; Sen. Gary Stubblefield, Senate Vice Chair; Rep. Richard Womack, House Chair; Rep. Nelda Speaks, House Vice Chair; and Roger A. Norman, JD, CPA, CFE, CFF, Legislative Auditor.
A priority of Arkansas Legislative Audit is to assist local government officials by promoting sound financial management and accountability of government resources. The Legislative Auditor reports on the fiscal affairs of local governments, as well as compliance with relevant state laws and observance of good business practices to provide accountability for tax dollars expended to support government operations.
We have performed certain limited procedures with respect to cash basis financial information and compliance with certain state laws and accepted accounting practices for the City of Alexander, Arkansas, as of and for the year ended December 31, 2021, and have issued our report thereon dated November 15, 2022. Management of the City is responsible for maintaining the financial records and complying with state laws and accepted accounting practices.
The findings contained in this section relate to the following officials who held office during 2021:
- Mayor: Paul Mitchell
- Treasurer: JoAnn Churchill
- Recorder: Melissa Ratliff
- District Court Clerk: Janet Guess (appointed September 1, 2021)
- Melissa Ratliff (appointed May 17, 2021)
- Amanda Douthit (resigned April 30, 2021)
- Police Chief: Robert Burnett
We evaluated the City’s compliance with certain state laws concerning general and district court accounting, budgeting, purchasing, and investing and depositing of public funds.
During our evaluation, noncompliance with state law and accepted accounting practices was noted in the offices of the 1. Mayor and 2. District Court Clerk:
During the period January 1, 2021 through August 25, 2022, the Bookkeeper received salary overpayments totaling $20,088 and undocumented mileage reimbursements totaling $641.
In addition, review of payroll records for the Bookkeeper, who was responsible for preparing disbursements and maintaining payroll records, revealed the following:
- Wages received in 2021 ($74,913) exceeded budget ($40,040) by $34,873.
- The Bookkeeper reported working an excessive number of hours on her timesheets:
- 1,602 overtime hours, including as much as 18 hours in a single day and as much as 181 hours during a two-week pay period.
- 945 weekend hours, including as much as 16 hours in a single weekend day and as much as 30 hours during a two-day weekend.
- The Bookkeeper reported working hours while out of the office:
- 115 hours on eight weekdays while, according to time clock cards, the Bookkeeper was on sick leave.
- 29 hours for attending a three-day conference for which, according to conference officials, the Bookkeeper was not registered and there was no evidence she attended.
- Hours reportedly worked while the Bookkeeper was traveling on three vacations, according to social media posts.
- “Time In” and “Time Out” reflected on timesheets did not always agree with stamped time clock cards.
- Timesheets were not always signed by the Bookkeeper or approved by her supervisor.
- As of August 20, 2022, the Bookkeeper had negative sick (-3) and vacation (-26) leave balances. In addition, 51 sick leave hours and 160 vacation leave hours used during the review period were not deducted from her leave balances.
The Bookkeeper was terminated on October 11, 2022.
2. District Court Clerk
Balances remaining in the bank were not identified with receipts issued for cases not yet adjudicated and payments made on all unpaid individual time accounts, as required by Ark. Code Ann. § 16-10-209.
This report is intended solely for the information and use of the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee, local City government, state executive and oversight management, and other parties as required by Arkansas Code, and is not intended to be and should not be used by anyone other than these specified parties. However, pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 10-4-417, all reports presented to the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee are matters of public record and distribution is not limited.
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