Webster Parish Coroner’s office recieves clean audit

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After trying to put the pieces of their finances back together, the Webster Parish Coroner’s Office has a clean audit.

The report does list findings that appear to be unresolved, such as segregation of duties and not publishing a budget; however, with a new coroner, Dr. Max Stell, staff is working to resolve those issues. The audit, conducted by Martin, Wise and Cole CPAs, was done separately, even though it is a component of the Webster Parish Police Jury.

The first finding regards segregation of duties. Auditors recommended the coroner’s office separate the duties in its accounting and reporting system to “maintain a complete system of internal control.”

“The Coroner’s Office should implement checks and balances to mitigate this issue,” the auditors wrote. “One person is responsible for invoicing services, collecting payments, preparing deposits, recording activity, receiving and reconciling bank statements.”

In the management’s response, the audit notes management is aware of the issue but they feel it is not cost effective to hire additional staff.

“The Coroner will continue to be involved in daily oversight,” management wrote in response to the finding.

The second dealt with the “failure to adopt a budget.” Auditors recommended they adopt an annual budget and submit it to the police jury upon approval.

“Management concurs with the finding and will prepare a budget for the upcoming years as required,” the coroner’s office responded.
The third finding regards the lack of written procedures over accounting procedures.

“The prior year review identified instances involving use of public assets and disbursements and recommended that written procedures and controls should be established,” auditors said. “There were no formal written procedures and controls for all operations in 2016.”

The coroner’s office said they would draft formal accounting procedures and policies to address the accounting and reporting system.

Some of the prior findings for 2015 have been partially resolved, auditors said, but capital assets decreased when they returned the vehicle they used to the police jury. While policies and procedures have been implemented under Stell, those policies and procedures have not been written as recommended.

The coroner’s office revenues totaled $187,950, which includes fees of $132,320 and intergovernmental revenue of $55,630.
Their expenses for 2016 totaled $159,662, including personnel at $123,103 and operating services at $36,519, leaving a total in the bank of $28,328.

The governmental fund balance at the beginning of the year was $10,411 and the balance at the end of the year was $38,739.

A total of $3,000 was paid to Dr. Carlos Irizzary, the former coroner with health and life insurance totaling $2,621 with $100 paid through the coroner’s office for services. Stell received $5,000 in compensation through the police jury.

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