Roundup Record Tribune & Winnett Times -

Letters to the Editor

 

August 19, 2020



This is a response by Shirley Marking and Amy Angel to previous articles in the Roundup Record Tribune. Throughout our time at the county, we believed in being financially frugal as we were dealing with taxpayers’ money. We worked with numerous past commissioners and other elected officials without issue. Between us, we had over 45 years successfully working with nine different commissioners. We and the past commissioners worked hard to ensure that we never raised any unnecessary taxes or spent on unnecessary expenses.

The article states that Amy hindered the grant process and didn’t want someone looking too closely into the county’s finances. She doesn’t have a problem with anyone looking into past/present county finances. As for the FEMA grant, Amy only wanted to ensure that the portion (a pond) that was to be used as the county’s cost share was possible as she was told it would not be due to a variety of problems, most importantly water right issues. The response that she got back from the agency contacted was that it couldn’t be done. She did not feel that the taxpayers should be on the hook for such a large cost share and shared this information with the commissioners to follow up on.

It was said that Amy was not there when the auditors were on-site. This was not true; she did meet with the auditors when they were on-site. After much correspondence with the auditors, Amy got very frustrated that the audit wasn’t done and brought it to the attention of the commissioners. She even spoke with the Department of Administration to pressure the auditors to complete the audits. It should be noted that after she resigned, the commissioners ended up switching auditors to complete the next set of audits even though they had planned to use the previous auditors for them. This shows that the problem wasn’t with her, but with the auditors.

The article talks about the cost of the recent audits. It should be noted that we were not there when the recent audits were completed; however, we had completed many audits in the past and they never came in at such a high cost. They were right on target with the normal cost of an audit.

The article said Amy did not give the auditors enough information. Then quickly says she gave them too much information. Which is it? Amy has always worked with the auditors to provide the information that was requested of our office.

The articles references grants. The accounting office never received any grants to be used for our office nor did we decide on how/what any grant funds were spent on. The decision as to what grants were spent on was up to the commissioners and the department that the grants were for. Our office did our best to track grants in the accounting system and to provide appropriate documentation for audits.

The accounting office never received any grant reimbursements or any other kind of funds. All grant reimbursements were sent to the directly to the bank account specified by the Treasurer or to the Treasurer’s office. All grant expenditures went through the claims process and were authorized by the commissioners.

All revenue received and expenditures paid, such as grant reimbursements, tax payments, and warrants processed, was recorded in the Black Mountain software which was backed up onto the county’s servers. These servers were put into place to make sure that this information could be readily retrieved.

The article references the claims process. The accounting office only processed claims. It was the responsibility of the person submitting the claims to ensure that they were correct. The accounting office could only flag claims they didn’t feel were correct. The commissioners got a copy of every claim along with an invoice journal. Both the commissioners and department heads were given a cash report, expenditure report, and revenue report showing every dollar spent and received and from which funds they came from.

The article says Mr. Carlson talked to Shirley not to harass her, but only to be a good manager. It seems strange that a good manager would cite resignation letters, etc. that are part of protected human resource issues in the newspaper?

The article states that the checks and balances in place when Amy was hired were changed. This is simply not true. There have always been checks and balances in place. Claims have always gone through a review process by the commissioners. The accounting office has never been on any bank or investment accounts. Neither Amy’s or Shirley’s signatures were ever on the warrants, they never had the power to invest the county’s money or withdraw/transfer any funds from the county’s bank/investment accounts.

The second article implies that the 2015 audit indicates there was gross fraud. None of the audits found any fraud. To imply that there was gross fraud is extremely hurtful. If they found actual fraud, it would list as such. An audit does not just audit one office, but all county offices and business.

Auditors are supposed to identify areas that could present a potential risk. Here is an example of a finding by the auditors – certain employees had more than two years worth of accrued vacation time. Due to a limited staff, certain employees were given permission by the commissioners to keep their accrued vacation because they didn’t have anyone to cover them in order for them to use their vacation time. Are we to assume that they or this involved fraud? We would hope not, as all these employees were doing was working harder than should have been expected.

If the auditors find an area that needs improved, it is listed as a finding. A finding does not signify there was fraud. Spinning it as it does, can really hurt some very good and dedicated employees that the county relies upon.

A previous article claimed that Shirley Marking worked in the County Attorney’s office, this is false. She was an accounting clerk with the accounting office.

Again, combined we had worked positively with various commissioners and many elected official for over three decades. We hope this helps shed light on the misinformation implied in the articles.

Thank you for reading,

Amy Angel and Shirley Marking

 

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