New treasurer deals with findings

The Washington State Auditor’s Office continued to be concerned about the Island County Treasurer’s Office in 2001.

In an audit report released Monday for the period Jan. 1, 2001 through Dec., 2001, the state auditor described as “unresolved” two previous findings about the treasurer’s office:

1. The absence of strong internal controls in the treasurer’s office creates the potential for misappropriation of public funds.

2. The county treasurer did not maintain adequate internal controls over property tax receivable adjustments.

The state audits the county annually, and other than the unresolved issues with the treasurer’s office everything was fine last year. “We identified no conditions significant enough to report as a finding,” the report states.

The unresolved findings date back several years, under the administration of former Treasurer Maxine Sauter. The findings provided campaign fodder last fall for challenger Linda Riffe, who defeated Sauter in the November election. Sauter died a week after the election.

Riffe assumed her duties after Sauter’s death, rather than waiting until January. Since then, she said Monday, her office has worked with the state auditor’s office in an effort to resolve the two negative findings.

“I met with the auditors shortly after I took office,” Riffe said. “They thought there’d be a change and they wanted to give me the opportunity to make these changes.”

Riffe said she has instigated weekly staff meetings and that three weeks ago her office implemented a new cash management policy, which will better safeguard the cash. “Only one person with a key has access,” she said. “Not everybody has access,” as was the case before. She also had new keys made, which hadn’t been done despite high turnover in the office.

Riffe said the problem of inadequate controls over property tax receivable adjustments is also being addressed. She plans to inform the public of changes in a quarterly report in March. “I want to communicate with the citizens,” she said. “We have lots and lots of challenges.”

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 22
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates