Monday, October 10, 2011

(Sutter County) Administrator raps Stark for poor communication

October 08, 2011 11:50:08 PM
By Ben van der Meer/Appeal-Democrat

A grand jury response by the Sutter County administrator's office and Board of Supervisors heavily criticizes county Auditor-Controller Robert Stark for poor communication practices and a lack of accountability, while a response filed by Stark largely agreed with the jury's findings.

"For the Auditor-Controller to state that their office was essentially 'too busy' to correct a $2.1 million error is simply inexcusable," County Administrator Stephanie Larsen writes in her response, which will be part of the board's agenda on Tuesday.

The grand jury investigation stemmed from a complaint against Stark's office over sales-tax revenues put into the wrong account and then not corrected for nearly two years.

When Stark's office discovered the mistake, according to Larsen, he didn't tell supervisors or her office for weeks, then was evasive and noncommittal on how the error would be fixed. Larsen noted the problem significantly affected the county's budgeting.

The grand jury's report found the error was unintentional, but the amount of time for county officials to be informed of the mistake was excessive.

Among the jury's findings were that Stark's policies for control over the general revenue budget unit were found unnecessary by Larsen's office because her office monitors and manages the unit.

In the board's response, it states it respectfully disagrees with the finding because Stark never adopted polices and procedures for deposits to the general revenue fund.

While Larsen's office goes beyond what is required to account for such deposits, the supervisors' response states, they wouldn't be necessary if Stark's office had such policies in place.

Stark's office's response, which is also included in the board's agenda, pointed out the jury also felt the county administrator's office had superseded individual departments' policies.

The response didn't dispute the lag in informing Larsen or the board of the error.

"However, this was a complex issue which needed to be researched and there were other extenuating business and personal circumstances at the time which caused the delay," the response stated.

As well, the response noted the board had 30 days to prepare a response to Stark's office's response.

CONTACT reporter Ben van der Meer at 749-4786.

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1 comment:

Joey said...

Bad people sometimes