New Money Handling Policies Required in All County Departments
By Janet Juroch
New policies for Internal Control for Financial Reporting for Boise County are close to being completed and waiting final approval from the County Commissioners. This task has been requested by the County Commissioners for all county departmental heads, many that are elected officials, to design their own money handling procedures. The recent problem of the missing 1700 dollars made the Commissioners take a hard look at revising the policy and procedures to close a loophole for misunderstandings.
There was a problem with the previous policy being read and interpreted differently by all departments of the county including the County Commissioners and the Treasurer April Hutchings. The policy Resolution was previously signed off as being a good policy, until money handling continued to be a problem. One person took the AC’s that were handed to them and did not count it and sign off with the other person present. This leaves a gap in procedures because there was no checking from BOTH parties to make sure all money is accounted for that was delivered and received. Had counting been done at the moment of receipt the discrepancy would have been discovered. At that time the employee would have realized that the 1700 was not there.
According to Boise County Commissioner Chairman Alan Ward, in an interview about the missing cash, he felt the bottom line is: Every time a department handles money, cash and checks, there has to be to people watching the process and signing off on it. The previous policy did not state a double accounting process. Ward confirmed, “If employees blatantly do not follow policy they will get released. Period.”
The County Commissioners are in agreement to implement a more professional way to handle money. Each department is in charge of their rewritten policies and will teach each employee the procedures and sign a document that they have read and understand the policy. From here on out, each department head will be held accountable for any discrepancies found in their department. It is understood that sometimes there are clerical errors but those should be able to be resolved. Following policy will be critical in handling money.
While they have been looking at the solutions to policy Ward says, “It is hard to believe that we are just now doing this in 2016″. He feels strongly that they have now tightened down on cash handling procedures from what was a very broad policy. Now each department has to be held accountable for keeping track of cash and the transfers from their department to another. Every time money changes hands it will be accounted for by two signatures. Wards expresses that “the Commissioners have really paid attention to the problem and have taken an in depth look right down to the grassroots of each department on how they are going to do it. The language is very clear that if you don’t do it then you won’t be a county employee.”
Ward says it all has taken some time to do all the policy rewriting. Word changes include may to shall or requested to required. Ward concluded, “We had to look at new policies carefully but we are about set with everything in place. Policies will always be up for revising if needed and may be reviewed annually. It is not one broad definition that can be misunderstood…..it is very detailed.” This increases safety and is a big protection for each employee handling money. Ultimately the new policies will protect the people’s money in the county.