Audit last year determined northwest Missouri town was missing more than $60,000; former city clerk subsequently charged with stealing and forgery
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — State Auditor Nicole Galloway released a follow-up report to the audit of the City of Coffey, located in northwest Missouri. The audit showed more than $60,000 was missing and that former city clerk Mary L. Browning failed to make deposits, received improper payroll payments, and falsified board minutes and various financial reports.
Auditor Galloway turned over the audit results to law enforcement officials and pledged her office’s assistance to them. Last August, Browning was charged with felony stealing and forgery in Daviess County.
The follow-up report released on Tuesday shows that city officials in Coffey have implemented almost all of the audit’s recommendations for better fiscal controls and oversight, and the other recommendations were in progress. Auditor Galloway commended them for taking those steps.
“Restoring citizens’ confidence in government can be challenging when fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars have occurred,” Galloway said. “By following the recommendations outlined in my audit, city officials in Coffey are working to regain that trust. As I’ve often said, audits get results. In this case, it means greater oversight now is in place to safeguard taxpayer money.”
The previous audit cited lax oversight by both the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen, but the follow-up found the city has implemented recommendations to better oversee financial activity and quickly identify any errors or missing funds. The Mayor reviews and compares bank activity to accounting records monthly, and reviews financial reports, supporting documentation and checks written before approving and signing checks. Additionally, financial statements are now provided to the Board at each monthly meeting for review and approval.
As part of the recommendations in progress, the Board of Aldermen is working with local law enforcement regarding the criminal prosecution in order to seek restitution of the missing money.
A copy of the follow-up report can be found here.