Auditor advising Joplin on post-tornado funds

JOPLIN (AP) — Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich on Monday offered several suggestions to local officials involved with recovery from the deadly Joplin tornado, including accounting, fraud prevention and open government compliance.

Schweich presented the recommendations during a meeting in Joplin with local officials and not-for-profit groups. The suggestions were proactive and intended to help avoid any problems while money for recovery efforts is accepted and then used.

A powerful tornado struck Joplin on May 22.

In his presentation, Schweich said it is important to understand the requirements for various programs, such as reporting deadlines and eligibility requirements. He said developing a budget for the disaster recovery funds can help with considering the most effective and efficient use of the money that is available. The auditor also advised careful planning for and monitoring of larger projects, such as remaining aware of financing terms and documenting when milestones are completed.

For procurement, Schweich said multiple bids should be accepted for projects above certain dollar thresholds. To guard against theft, he said there should be strong accounting controls.

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