Audit finds errors in Kinder's office records

The Missouri auditor’s office identified math errors in the records for vacation and compensatory time for employees in the lieutenant governor’s office, according to a review released Thursday.

Auditor Susan Montee said there were errors and inconsistencies for all five of the lieutenant governor’s office employees. The lieutenant governor’s office said the errors were made on internal records used to track employees’ vacation, compensatory time and sick time and not on the official records used to pay employees.

Gary McElyea, a spokesman for Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, said Thursday the errors were fixed and the internal system also was changed so that the math is done by computer to avoid human errors.

The state review also raised concerns about how the office approves purchases. Kinder’s office said expenses are reviewed and approved and auditors found no examples of improper purchases. McElyea characterized the audit as giving the lieutenant governor’s office a “clean bill of health.”

“The findings in this audit are rather unsubstantial in nature,” McElyea said. “At the same time, we — the lieutenant governor’s office — are always looking for ways to make improvements in how we operate.”

Montee, a Democrat, is leaving office in January. This month, she was elected to be the chairwoman of the Missouri Democratic Party. Kinder, a Republican, is expected to run for governor in 2012.

In a separate audit focused on Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s office, Montee said Thursday that the state had transferred $5 million from an investor education fund into Missouri’s general fund since November 2009. Montee said the investor fund should be reimbursed.

Lawmakers in 2009 approved transferring the money in the state spending plan. The secretary of state’s office said the money was transferred out of the fund by the state Office of Administration.

Linda Luebbering, the state budget director, said the money was transferred to help balance the state budget. She said the funds were used for programs in the secretary of state’s office that otherwise could have been cut.

“We believe that was a perfectly permissible action, and there is no need to do the reimbursement,” Luebbering said.

The Investor Education and Protection Fund is designed to pay to teach Missourians about investments and avoiding fraud. It gets money from court awards and reimbursements for the cost of securities investigations.

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