Waste, Fraud, & Mismanagement

Glenn County Courts at ‘Significant Risk of Inappropriate Use of Public Funds,’ Auditor Finds

Glenn County Seal

Glenn County’s court system has “multiple weaknesses and a lack of safeguards” in its oversight of purchases and payments, “putting the court at significant risk of inappropriate use of public funds,” the state auditor reported January 12.

“For example, in violation of the judicial contracting manual, Glenn did not retain documentation for many purchases to demonstrate that authorized individuals reviewed and approved them,” the auditor wrote. “Specifically, Glenn could not demonstrate that it had properly authorized 20 of the 23 purchases we reviewed, for a total cost of more than $101,000. Moreover, Glenn does not have key controls that prevent individuals from approving their own payments. We identified four purchases – totaling more than $4,600 – that a former interim court executive officer both incurred and approved for payment, reflecting a lack of internal controls and a failure to ensure appropriate separation of duties.”

Diana Baca, the county’s court executive officer, said the court “agrees with the assessments” and “will work to implement the recommendations” included in the audit.

The auditor reported that the courts in Kern, San Francisco, Tulare, and Ventura counties “generally adhered to the requirement procurement and contracting practices that we evaluated,” although San Francisco was urged to implement formal procedures for approving invoices and adopt a policy establishing levels of approval authority for entering into contracts.

Mark Culkins, San Francisco’s interim court executive officer, said the recommendations will be implemented.