Carter County the Capricious County

The following post was submitted by Bryan Jeffers of SEMO Cop Block. Originally published at SEMOCopBlock.com

The Missouri State Auditor has completed the audit on Carter County Missouri. The audit report has given the county an overall performance of “good”. While the audit reported a good overall performance, Missouri State Auditor, Nicole Galloway, has noted a few problems. The Prosecuting Attorney’s office also needs improvement.

According to her report the Prosecuting Attorney’s office collected monies for bad checks, restitution, related fees, and other miscellaneous receipts totaling approximately $17,000. She stated that the Sheriff’s office personnel do not restrictively endorse checks or money orders immediately upon receipt. Monies received are not deposited in a timely manner.

The Audit report also states, “County officials have not established adequate password controls to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to office computers and data.” SEMO Copblock believes that this County leadership is in question. Leaders who can manage money and understand electronic data security should take priority.

The Auditor report states, the Prosecuting Attorney’s office does not keep “a complete and accurate list of unpaid bad checks and restitutions would allow the Prosecuting Attorney’s office to more easily review the amounts due to the office and to take appropriate steps to ensure amounts owed are collected or to determine if amounts are uncollectible.”

“The Prosecuting Attorney has not established adequate procedures to ensure charges are filed timely with the court for unresolved bad check complaint.” The Auditor office reviewed 10 cases that had charges filed and determined the Prosecuting Attorney did not file charges timely for 9 of them.

The Prosecuting office took up to 294 days to file charges against the bad check writer. The Report gave an example “For example, the Prosecuting Attorney’s office received a bad check complaint from a local vendor on July 17, 2014, and the Prosecuting Attorney’s office issued a 10-day letter on July 21, 2014; however, he did not file charges against the bad check writer until April 17, 2015.” Could all this be the reason Ernie Richardson resigned as the Carter County Prosecuting Attorney effective June 30, 2016? In August 2016, Amanda Oesch was appointed by the Governor to replace him.

If you have questions about Ernie Richardson, on why he quit his job as the Prosecuting Attorney of Carter County. You may contact him at:
PO Box 456
Van Buren, MO 63965
Carter County
(573) 323-8480

The Sheriff’s Office did not endorse check or money orders, nor deposit money given to them in a timely manner. The auditor report says “Office personnel do not restrictively endorse checks and money orders immediately upon receipt. They restrictively endorsed them when the weekly deposit is prepared.”

Is Sheriff Richard Stephens able to account for the monies coming into his department? Nicole Galloway also states, “Failure to implement adequate receipting procedures increases the risk of loss, theft, or misuse of monies and the likelihood that errors will go undetected. Procedures should be established to ensure all monies received are restrictively endorsed immediately upon receipt.” Could people in the Sheriff’s department be mishandling money?

In the Audit report, the Sheriff’s department said: “We have started endorsing checks and money orders immediately upon receipt.”

The County has inadequate Electronic Data Security. According to the Audit report, “County officials have not established adequate password controls to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to office computers and data. Employees in the offices of the County Clerk, Sheriff, Assessor, Prosecuting Attorney, and Collector are not required to change passwords periodically and some passwords are shared by employees, which increases the risk of a compromised password.” Could Carter County data be in the hands of a hacker? Nicole Galloway also states, in the report “Passwords are required to authenticate access to computers.

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The security of computer passwords is dependent upon keeping them confidential. However, since passwords are not required to be periodically changed or kept confidential, there is fewer assurance passwords are effectively limiting access to computers and data files to only those individuals who need access to perform their job responsibilities. Passwords should be unique, confidential, and changed periodically to reduce the risk of a compromised password and unauthorized access to and use of computers and data.”

Does the Sheriff, Richard Stephens, have the mental capability to understand the importance of electronic data security? If the Sheriff can not protect the county from unauthorized access to the county computers, is he capable of protecting the people of Carter County?

Carter County the capricious County. The Prosecuting Attorney, Ernie Richardson resigned. Did he resign because he was unable to handle the responsibilities of the job? The Sheriff’s department did not handle money properly. The whole County did not understand the importance of electronic data security. Carter County has a rating of good, but still needs improvements. Will Carter County handle the issues that the Auditor pointed out in the report and improve on the next Audit?


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Dylan Donnelly

Artist and Photojournalist from Fresno, CA Editor at Fresno People's Media & admin of Cop Block Fresno, CA Follow me on Twitter and Facebook Subscribe to my Youtube Channel