Kentucky county official’s shoddy work creating funding woes for others, audit says

State auditor Mike Harmon
State auditor Mike Harmon

Poor financial practices continued in the Owsley County clerk’s office in 2016, depriving other local agencies of money needed to provide services, Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon’s office said in a report released Tuesday.

The audit said that Clerk Shanna Oliver did not fulfill her duties because her accounting and financial practices were so bad.

It was the second audit of Oliver’s office this month with similar critical findings. She did not respond to either audit.

Harmon’s office released the 2015 audit of Oliver recently and the 2016 audit Tuesday. The 2015 audit took longer than usual to finish because of the bookkeeping problems in Oliver’s office.

The 2016 audit found many of the same problems from the year before.

It said Oliver did not submit required financial reports on time; did not settle her accounts and turn over excess fees to the fiscal court as required; did not reconcile bank accounts properly, increasing the risk for fraud or mistakes to go undetected; and did not prepare franchise tax bills or pay some taxes and fees on time.

Oliver doesn’t spend enough time on financial accounting and has not put measures in place to track finances in her office, the audit said.

“Most importantly, taxing districts (state, county, school, library, health department, etc.) are owed substantial amounts of taxes and have been deprived of these resources for a significant time,” the audit released Tuesday said.

At the end of 2016, there were financial transactions from Oliver’s office totaling $13,184, some from months earlier, that still hadn’t cleared the bank.

It appears Oliver wrote checks but didn’t deliver them to other local agencies, the audit said.

Oliver was in violation of a number of laws, both the 2015 and 2016 audits charged.

Harmon’s office turned over findings from both audits to Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office and to the Department for Local Government.