Response, Improvements, and Updates
The Lawrence County Treasurer’s Office is the receipting office for all County Departments and fund. The Treasurer’s Office employees all have the duty to receive “pass-through” money and checks at the counter from other departments and agencies. These documents are immediately time-stamped; they are then turned over to the Second Deputy Treasurer or Executive Clerk for receipting into Munis Accounting System. These monies are received in the form cash, check, wire transfers, and credit cards. The Treasurer’s Office employees all have the duty to receive, receipt, and record tax payments. Tax payments are received in the form of cash, check, and credit cards.
There are currently 6 cash drawers permanently installed in the Treasurer’s Office, with two (2) portable drawers that are used in the case of heavy tax collection days. Two (2) of these drawers are used as Agents for the Commonwealth, otherwise known as the State drawers. Every employee, with the exception of the employee that is permanently assigned to the main State drawer, has a tax drawer that they are responsible to balance at the end of the work day. Their tax receipts are kept in individual bags and locked in the vault for the morning balance.
In answer to the concern of the large bins of unopened mail, that has been a practice in the past, our administration has aggressively addressed this troubling issue. Our procedure is that the daily mail will be opened and processed within 24 – 48 hours of receipt. This affords the County the prompt deposit of funds into an interest-bearing account as well as providing the customer with the practicality of receiving a prompt receipt, when requested, and the funds being debited from their accounts in an expeditious manner.
To reduce the risk of improprieties, segregation of duties has been implemented by the Treasurer’s Office. The prior day’s tax receipts are balanced to the AS 400 (in the form of the green-bar sheets) by the Chief Deputy Treasurer. Any differences between the daily tax receipts and AS 400 report are researched until resolved or found immaterial. The balanced tax payments are receipted into the Munis system by the 2nd Deputy Treasurer or Executive Clerk. The 2nd Deputy then gives the Chief Deputy the Munis balance sheet which is then entered onto an Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet breaks out receipts for the previous day including checks, wires, interest, MAC, and cash. The amount also includes any shortages or overages found.
Once the spreadsheet is balanced, the monies collected are given to the 2nd Deputy Treasurer to prepare the necessary deposit slip(s). This is a checks and balance to insure that the balances and deposits are being made properly by the deputies. A copy of the AS 400 balance sheet, a copy of all Munis receipts with the back-up, and a copy of the Excel balance sheet are given to the Controller’s Office.
The deposit is then taken to the bank by Dee Fee, Fiscal Officer, or Richard L. Rapone, Treasurer, with Sarah Leslie, Executive Clerk used as back-up, and placed in the night deposit. Placing the deposit in the night deposit allows for the bank to exercise dual control when receiving it and also allows Dee to return to the office expeditiously thus awarding the office more productivity time.
The bank reconciliations are primarily performed by the Fiscal Officer with some of the smaller accounts being reconciled by the Second Deputy Treasurer.
The Chief Deputy Treasurer has asked the State for a 90-day extension to address the issue of escheating. We are working in conjunction with Leon Yannacci, Special Projects Manager, Bureau of Unclaimed Property, Pennsylvania Treasury Department, and the Controller’s Office to obtain and submit the correct information.
In keeping in compliance with the audit findings, we are implementing the use of a transmittal slip for receipting of funds from other departments and agencies. The form will be in triplicate and show the date, time, department originating transmittal, the person delivering the cash or check, total amount, Munis origin and object accounts numbers, and the initials of the Treasurer’s Office employee accepting the transmittal. The original white copy is for the Treasurer’s Office for their files, the yellow copy goes to the Controller’s Office, and pink copy is retained for the department issuing the transmittal. The purpose of this form is to help establish a more accountable procedure when receiving checks and cash.
We are in the process of modernizing the bank account ledgers to Excel spreadsheets. The Fiscal Officer used tablets and hand-written ledger sheets. This is a procedure we will be implementing the first week in June 2008.
Working in conjunction with the Controller’s Office, our investment procedure is to check the balance in the General Fund and invest any amount that will not interfere with the day-to-day operations of the County. After checking with ESB bank on the Certificate of Deposit interest rates for that day, a written proposal with an approval sign-off sheet are sent to the County Commissioners. At least two out of three Commissioner’s signatures of approval are required before an investment can be made. A formal request, signed by the Treasurer and Chief Deputy Treasurer, along with the Commissioner’s written proposal and signature page, is then sent to ESB Bank. Upon verification of the completed Certificate of Deposit from ESB Bank, a copy of all paperwork is forwarded to all three County Commissioners, the County Business Administrator, and the County Controller. The original certificate is then locked in the safe in the vault area until maturity, at which time it is determined, again in conjunction with the Controller’s Office, if it is feasible to reinvest or deposit the money back into the General Fund.
When the current administration took office in January 2008, we found an office that ran without the benefits of written procedures. It is our contention that past practices can lead to bad habits. We are in the process of inscribing, what we feel, are much needed processes of operation.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to call (724) 656-2484.