As previously reported by WMSK the 2014 Audit of Union County Fiscal Court found four instances that fiscal court did not advertise for bids in accordance with KRS 424.260.
Fiscal Court purchased a portable skating rink that cost $40,302, according to State Auditor Adam Edelen who stated this occurred because Union County First informed the County that the shared cost of the skating rink was $30,000. In actuality, the report says the County’s portion of the cost was $30,000. Additionally, there were two projects (a waterline extension totaling $54,607 and a ball field renovation totaling $22,890) performed by a local contractor that exceeded bid requirements.
Edelen reports there was one instance where items purchased totaled $23,700 and were paid through a split purchase. On April, 22, 2014, a check was written to a vendor in the amount of $23,700. This check was voided on April 22, 2014, and a check for $19,950 was issued to the same vendor on the same day. County Judge Executive Jody Jenkins reportedly obtained and signed a check from UC First in the amount of $3,750 written to the same vendor to complete the transaction on May 2, 2014. The County Judge Executive was a check signer for UC First, and Fiscal Court reimbursed UC First for the $3,750 on May 9, 2014.
According to Union County’s Administrative Code, the requirement for advertisement by bid for any single item, contract, lease or other agreement for materials and/or supplies shall increase from 25-hundred dollars to 20-thousand dollars pursuant to KRS 424.260.
Since these four transactions were not properly bid, the state’s auditor says the Fiscal Court is in violation of KRS 424.260 and the Union County Administrative Code. The auditors recommend all purchases where a single vendor is to be paid more than 20-thousand dollars be bid in accordance with KRS 424.260, and also recommended purchases not be split in order to avoid bid requirements.
The 2014 Audit also found twelve disbursements to UC First totaling over 80-thousand dollars during fiscal year 2014. The report says the documentation for the amounts paid to UC First shows that 24-thousand dollars was for the budgeted contribution to UC First, over 36-thousand dollars was a reimbursement for assets acquired by UC First on behalf of the Fiscal Court, nearly 10-thousand dollars was a reimbursement to UC First for waterline project overruns paid by the County, and over 9-thousand dollars described as “reimbursements” were bills of the Union County Fiscal Court.
Union County Fiscal Court expenses were co-mingled with those of UC First, according to the release. Per Judge-Executive Jody Jenkins, the reimbursements were paid from the UC First account because he was a check signer and the invoices were requested to be paid before Fiscal Court met. One of the expenditures described as a reimbursement was for a piece of equipment paid from a split purchase. The handling of the transaction circumvents normal internal controls for procurement, according to Edelen. In addition, he states Fiscal Court was not given the opportunity to review or question the disbursement, since it was being presented as a reimbursement to UC First.
The auditor recommended that all claims be presented to fiscal court prior to payment in accordance with KRS 68.275, that UC First checking accounts not be used to pay Union County Fiscal Court expenses, and that operating procedures described in the Union County Administrative Code be followed for all disbursements of Union County.
For more complete details of the 2014 Audit, go to www.auditor.ky.gov
I called Judge Jenkins office Thursday afternoon and left a message to see if he would like to make a statement to the residents in Union County regarding the audit, but as of news time he had not responded to my request.