By Michael Howell
The latest update concerning the independent audit being conducted at the Treasurer’s office was released to the public last Friday, April 4. The update, from James Woy, of Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co., PC, the independent firm conducting the audit, discusses the status of the audit through March 27. It is the third in a series of updates submitted by Woy.
The first status report was submitted by Woy on February 6. The first report noted that about $172,675.41 in cash and checks was found in the Treasurer’s office immediately following the placement of Treasurer Valerie Stamey on paid administrative leave.
The report noted several control deficiencies in the office and stated, “At this point it appears the duties of the Treasurer were not properly executed and the work performed was sloppy. We question the competency of the appointed Treasurer based on what we have sighted so far.
“E-mails to the appointed Treasurer from other offices in the County or agencies indicated errors were being made in receipting the incoming deposits. We expect there will be necessary research to determine the accuracy of the deposits and receipting of the deposits.”
In the second status report submitted on February 14, it was noted that aside from the initial amount of cash and checks, totaling $171,197.68, an additional $952,372.78 in un-deposited funds was located in various places around the office. As of February 14, Woy notes, most of those funds had been receipted and deposited.
“At this point it is apparent the duties of the Ravalli County Treasurer were not properly executed and the state of the Treasurer’s office was in disarray,” states Woy.
He goes on to note that “the Treasurer’s office personnel intends to have all agency deposits, receipts and disbursements information that is known based on what has been obtained in the Treasurer’s office, posted by February 28, 2014 so we can begin circulating confirmations to all Agencies.”
Stamey filed suit against Woy and the company he works for, Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co., PC, claiming libel and slander related to his comments about her in the initial status reports. She claims the published statement exposed her to “hatred, contempt, ridicule, obloquy” and caused her “to be shunned and avoided.” She is seeking damages for “injury to occupation, mental anguish, public contempt, ridicule, and hatred affecting (her) ability to live in the community,” and consequential damages of “loss of future income, future employment opportunities, and interference with the ability to seek elective office.” Stamey, who was appointed interim Treasurer, is running for election to the office this November. She is also seeking punitive damages in her lawsuit of up to $10 million.
In his third status report, issued on March 28 and made public on April 4, Woy notes that a total of 78 Agency confirmations to all external and internal agencies of Ravalli County were mailed out on March 19.
“The Treasurer’s office has caught up with the backlog of work in the Treasurer’s office pertaining to receipting in deposits, posting activity including tax allocations, warrants and other disbursements of funds to Agencies of Ravalli County,” states the report.
Woy notes that county personnel continue the “time consuming and challenging task” of completing all County cash account reconciliations current through January, 2014. As of March 27, 2014, the report states, cash reconciliations have been completed through September 2013. There are unreconciled differences that are still being investigated.
“We are overseeing this process and intend to opine on these reconciliations in our final report,” concludes Woy.
“Hopefully the transparency of this independent audit will give our taxpaying citizens some assurance that all monies will be properly accounted for,” said County Attorney Bill Fulbright in a written statement accompanying the release of the status report.