Arlington receives clean audit; changes recommended for police

The full letter is posted below.

The full letter is posted below.

ARLINGTON — Though the city received clean audits for 2015, state officials recommended changes for the police department and employee spending.

The state auditor’s office Thursday released the 2015 financial and accountability audits for Arlington. Problems from past audits, including the handling of money and leases at the city’s airport, have been fixed, auditors said. There were no additional findings.

“Our staff has worked extremely hard to make sure we’ve corrected any of those items pointed out in previous audits and focused on policies and procedures to make sure we don’t have future findings,” city spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said.

However, a Dec. 5 management letter urged the city to tighten controls in the police department and on city spending cards.

In October 2015, the police department switched to a new software, called New World Systems, that is used by first responders throughout Snohomish County.

Auditors found problems resulting from staff turnover and a lack of training on the software. User access wasn’t monitored, and a record of changes to evidence in the property room wasn’t independently reviewed.

The department also had 25 “small and attractive” items such as cameras and radar guns. Some were not properly tagged, were in different locations than recorded, or had not been properly listed.

In the property room, where police keep evidence, city policy states that two people must count cash over $50. Anything more than $500 requires a supervisor when one is available. One officer counted a total of $660 without a partner or supervisor. Auditors also said the department should deposit money within 24 hours of receiving it, or extend that deadline.

Policies for handling cash and evidence have been updated, and the requirement for having two signatures on cash totals clarified, Banfield said. The city worked with the software vendor to fix glitches and add training.

The management letter offered suggestions for handling city charge cards, as well.

“There’s some pretty stringent requirements about approvals and receipting to make sure that we’re using it for appropriate purchases, so we’re just doing some tightening on those,” Banfield said.

The city is reviewing spending thresholds and which employees have cards. Auditors found that having cards for each employee creates individual accountability but increases the workload for oversight.

There were problems the city dealt with quickly but did not immediately report to the state. The charge cards were used on lodging for annual retreats that exceeded guidelines. The city provided a memorandum explaining the retreats. A meal charge lacked documentation of its business purpose. There also were six charges on the cards, totaling more than $9,500, for tuition. The city helps employees pay for job-related education.

“Unfortunately, we processed the payment incorrectly,” Banfield said. “We should have cut a check instead of using the card. I don’t think we’ll have that problem again.”

Employees also used the cards to buy more than $90,000 in chemicals for the wastewater treatment plant over two years. Purchases greater than $15,000 should go through a formal bidding process. Workers likely have been buying chemicals without officially bidding for years, but updated policies and training are in the works, Banfield said.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439;

Talk to us

More in Local News

This crash in Monroe happened early Friday morning after police discontinued a high-speed chase. Both occupants were taken to a hospital. (Monroe Police Department) 20211022
2 seriously injured in Monroe crash; DUI suspected

The driver hit a center lane divider and rolled his car. Police are investigating him for vehicular assault.

Alejandro Meza watches a video of the altercation he had with Gene Peterson on Community Transit bus during opening statements of his trial on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Murder trial opens for man who shot stranger on Everett bus

Alejandro Meza got into a fight with a passenger over drug use, he claimed. His attorneys say he acted in self-defense.

Police are searching for a female suspect following a burglary at the Masjid Umar Al-Farooq Mosque in Mountlake Terrace. (City of Mountlake Terrace)
Police arrest suspect in Mountlake Terrace mosque burglary

Another person remained at large, after burglars took prayer rugs and Qurans then threw them in a dumpster.

Arlington schools briefly on lockout; students, staff safe

A Mukilteo resident reportedly intended to die by suicide in a school parking lot. They were found and referred to care.

Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste, center, greets a new trooper during a graduation ceremony, as Gov. Jay Inslee looks on in the Rotunda at the Capitol Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Olympia, Wash. The class of 31 troopers completed more than 1,000 hours of training and will now work for the WSP across the state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 2,000 state workers lose jobs

Ten troopers north of Seattle, 54 Monroe prison workers and hundreds more across the state refused the governor’s mandate.

Top row: Vanessa Edwards (left) and Ray Sheldon Jr. Bottom row (from left): Connor Krebbs, Wade Rinehardt and Katie Jackson. (Not pictured: Sherry Weersing)
After year of tumult, new faces vie for Marysville School Board

One candidate is concerned about “Critical Race Theory.” Others see more pressing issues.

Lake Stevens worker’s protection order granted against boss

The worker and his boss, Public Works Director Eric Durpos, were put on leave for an incident at a grievance meeting.

Police: ‘Prolific’ Marysville thief stole from dozens of gym lockers

The suspect, 23, was arrested this week for investigation of more than 55 felonies.

Most Read