By Sarah Pridgeon
Under fire for alleged missteps in handling county funds, Treasurer Mary Kuhl says her office has formally responded to allegations made in the county audit and will be using the situation as an opportunity for improvement. When thousands of transactions pass across your desk every month, Kuhl says, she understands that mistakes can be made.
“The results of the recent audit have alerted me to a few areas that require more effort on our part to ensure that we maintain a fully transparent and accurate accounting of the county and state’s revenues,” Kuhl explains.
“In response to the audit, and with the assistance of the County Commissioners and County Attorney’s Office, we have begun the process of adopting new policies and procedures to ensure that the auditor’s concerns are properly addressed.”
When Paul Stille of Leo Riley & Associates addressed the commission in December and described his findings, he stated that the Treasurer’s Office would need to write a formal letter of response to be included in the final audit.
“I went to Casper to meet with the auditors on January 6 and then I sent the Commissioners some detailed transaction information on the transactions he had findings on,” she says. As yet, she adds, she has not heard back.
Kuhl says she is unable to publically release the letter she sent to the commission due to privacy issues.
“Vehicle registration information is protected, so I sent [the Commissioners] a disclosure letter to sign,” she says.
In accordance with Wyoming’s freedom of information statutes, the Sundance Times requested a copy of the letter with any redactions Kuhl felt necessary. Kuhl noted that her office was currently very busy with license plate transactions and wouldn’t immediately be able produce a copy.
In the meantime, Kuhl said she is still in communication with the auditors regarding transactions within her office.
“I’ve still been getting requests for them for more information so I’ve just been responding to them and sending them the information that they are asking for,” she says.
For example, Kuhl shares one request for more information regarding a deposit of just under $286,000 in July, 2015; and another query about outstanding checks that were one year or more old in June, 2016. Neither relates to what was in the original findings, she says.
Kuhl notes that one big step has already been taken to assist her office in its improvement efforts.
“I am particularly grateful to the County Commissioners for allowing me to implement new electronic payment systems, which will greatly assist our office in processing daily transactions and, more importantly, help to assist us with incomplete or pending transactions,” she says.