State releases audit of municipal court

Court rated as 'fair'

Jefferson City’s municipal court has received several recommendations from the state auditor’s office and an overall rank of fair.

State Auditor Tom Schweich released the audit Monday, citing issues in the court’s accounting procedures, municipal division procedures and computer controls. The court last was audited in 1996.

The audit listed 11 recommendations, including segregating accounting duties among staff, ensuring review of adjustments and voided transactions, and preparing a monthly list of cases heard in the court.

The audit also detailed “a potentially improper $35 warrant fee” the court assesses for each warrant issued.

The fees are imposed based on a judges order, but the audit recommended the city implement an ordinance to authorize the fee, which the City Council approved last week. According to the audit, warrant fees brought in $60,000 during the city’s 2012 fiscal year.

Other recommendations included ensuring court staff have separate usernames and passwords for the computer system and reviewing staff access to data. The audit stated “one system user has inappropriate access and another user has unnecessary access to the computer system based on their job responsibilities.”

The city’s responses to each recommendation are included in the audit, and either agree to implement the changes or detail any problems with the findings.

The audit recommended ensuring the prosecuting attorney signs all tickets, stating staff uses his signature stamp on tickets and the operations division staff overseeing the parking division “are allowed to void or dismiss appealed parking tickets without the prosecuting attorney’s approval.”

The city’s response stated that while the prosecutor should review and sign all tickets, “this is a limitation of a part-time prosecutor.” The city noted the prosecutor will be requested to sign all tickets moving forward, but “as an elected official, no staff has oversight of the prosecutor.”

The full audit report can be viewed on the state auditor’s website at www.auditor.mo.gov/AuditReports/CitzSummary.aspx?id=252.

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