The Missouri State Auditor's office recommended that the Cassville Municipal Court change some of its record-keeping practices following a state audit that was completed recently.
The audit, which covered a two-year period from Jan. 1, 2005, to Dec. 31, 2007, is part of the state's routine audit schedule.
The audit report issued three main findings in regard to operations of the city court. These findings are listed below.
* Receipt slips are not issued for bonds received; therefore, the court has no assurance that all bond monies collected are being properly deposited. Approximately $44,300 in bond monies were deposited during the two-year period covered by the audit.
* The court's depositing schedule results in funds being transported to the bank twice and handled by several city employees before being credited to the city's account. The court should consider limiting the number of times monies are handling.
* The accounts receivable records maintained by the court clerk are not always updated in a timely manner and include old, inactive cases. Auditors suggest better follow-up of delinquent accounts to facilitate monitoring of amounts due to the court. This information should be provided to the municipal judge. As of May 2008, city court records indicate an accounts receivable balance of approximately $124,600.
City officials provided detailed responses to each of the audit findings and agreed to implement as many of the state auditor's recommendations as feasibly possible.
The city recently ordered a receipt book and the court clerk is now issuing receipts for bond monies. The process of depositing court funds will remain unchanged for security and financial reasons. The current system allows money to be deposited and processed in the same day. The current system also allows the deposit to be handled in a safe manner, and city officials believe the money is well secured until it is deposited in the bank.
The issue pertaining to accounts receivable records will be addressed when the Cassville Municipal Court joins the Justice Information System (JIS) provided through the Office of State Courts Administrator.
Cassville aldermen approved an agreement that will allow the city to join the state's computerized records system at the June 16 council meeting. Staff training has been scheduled and the city should be part of the system by September.
According to City Administrator Mike Hayslip, the auditor from the state auditor's office spent approximately three to four weeks in our facility pouring through records.
"In the end, he came up with some minor issues and made suggestions on how to better manage court documents, files and receipts," said Hayslip. "The fact they stayed nearly a month to find what they ended up reporting on says volumes, in my opinion, as to the management of the municipal court."
The Cassville Municipal Court handled 1,081 cases with receipts totalling $98,307 in 2006. In 2007, there were 1,162 cases filed in city court and receipts totalling $142,996.
Currently, Dale Burke serves as municipal court judge and Jennifer Privett is court clerk. Prior to September of 2007, Michele Holenda served as court clerk.
Copies of the audit can be accessed through the Missouri State Auditor's website at www.auditor.mo.gov. For more information, call 573-751-4213.