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New treasurer deals with findings
The Washington State Auditors Office continued to be concerned about the Island County Treasurers 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 treasurers office:
1. The absence of strong internal controls in the treasurers 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 treasurers 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 Sauters death, rather than waiting until January. Since then, she said Monday, her office has worked with the state auditors office in an effort to resolve the two negative findings.
I met with the auditors shortly after I took office, Riffe said. They thought thered 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 hadnt 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.