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Auditor questions golf fees; no violations

By Kristen Bishop
kbishop@decaturdaily.com 340-2443

MOULTON — A state auditor said the Lawrence County school board had not violated any state regulations for the 2005-06 school year, but questioned why two board members received travel money for golf fees.

Randy Obanna of the state Examiners of Public Accounts office presented his annual report to school board members Monday.

The school fiscal accountability act requires the state to audit each school system annually.

Obanna had four concerns about the school system's financial report, a normal amount compared to other systems, he said.

He presented the following findings and recommendations:

  • One employee counted the concession funds and did not receive a receipt upon turning the money into the school's bookkeeper. Obanna said two or more people should be present when counting money and the bookkeeper should provide a receipt for all collected money.

  • The board bought two sewing machines for the vocational center at a total cost of $11,300. The school board did not request bids for the items. Obanna said all aggregate purchases over $750 should be bid in accordance with the state competitive bid law.

  • Though he was not specific, Obanna said some schools did not always follow internal control procedures and directed the board to ensure all employees are aware of and follow those procedures.

  • Obanna said some travel expenditures were questionable. Two board members received excessive travel money for unauthorized expenses including lodging, golf and telephone services totaling more than $600, he said.

    Obanna did not name the board members but said they reimbursed the school system after the audit found the expenditures to be excessive.

    Superintendent Dexter Rutherford took the blame for the questionable expenditures and said confusion surrounding personnel changes allowed some inappropriate charges to go unnoticed.

    After presenting his report, Obanna said the school system's financial records were accurate and could be trusted.

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