DARRINGTON — Problems persist in how town staff have been tracking public dollars, according to state auditors.
Errors in financial reporting and review, and a lack of training for employees in charge of those tasks, create a risk that use of taxpayer money may not be recorded properly or that public resources could be misused without the town noticing right away, auditors wrote in a report published Dec. 28.
Darrington staff were unable to identify which transactions may have caused a mismatch between totals in the town’s general ledger and bank statements, according to the report. Cash balances were overstated by more than $100,000 total in 2015 and 2016, while other funds were underreported, misidentified or lacked the proper supporting documents.
The town also does not have an adequate review process to make sure financial statements are complete and accurate, according to the audit.
In response, town officials wrote that they will provide staff with additional training, and that the town council or mayor will perform a secondary review of financial information.
It’s not the first time auditors have found trouble with Darrington’s financial reporting. Audits of the town’s operations in 2011 and 2012 turned up problems with cash handling, loans and equipment records. A 2015 report listed seven areas of concern, among them payroll oversight and utility billing.
That audit concluded that a likely cause was turnover in staff and lack of training.