Issues at the Treasurer’s Office have been fixed, and La Plata County received a clean audit for 2018.
“I am happy to note we didn’t note any material weakness this year,” Matthew Marino, with RubinBrown, told county commissioners Wednesday. “Your management team has worked really hard rectifying situations and making sure they’re doing the right thing.”
Problems at the Treasurer’s Office first surfaced in 2017 when Treasurer Allison Aichele alerted county commissioners of issues in her office that were expected to appear in the 2016 audit.
At that time, the county paid an Albuquerque-based firm an additional $12,500 to review the Treasurer’s Office, with the investigation finding numerous errors and inconsistencies in the office’s processing and bookkeeping.
Aichele, who was first elected in 2014, said at the time the issues stemmed from a lack of staffing and proper training, as well as a learning curve on the new job. She said in May 2017 that most, if not all, of the issues had been resolved.
The 2017 audit, however, found many of the issues in the Treasurer’s Office had not been fixed and were putting the county at an increased risk of fraud.
As a result of these problems, La Plata County’s finances were categorized as “high risk,” a term auditors use for entities that hold a greater likelihood of running afoul with federal law. An entity that is deemed high risk also must pay more each year for audit costs.
Megan Graham, La Plata County spokeswoman, said the county has paid an additional $37,200 for the audits the past two years because of the high risk designation.
On Wednesday, however, Marino said the Treasurer’s Office has created and fully implemented a list of corrective actions to fix the issues that plagued the office for the past few years.
If La Plata County’s audit next year comes back clean, it’s likely the county could be put back on the “low risk” designation, Stevens said.
“We’re halfway there,” he said.
Aichele, who was re-elected last year, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.