County Treasurer alerts Board of County Commissioners about flaws in system, addresses stale checks, and asks for policy to be followed


Tara Wallker

County Treasurer Christina Whitmer brought up serious concerns during the March 27 Board of County commissioners meeting. Whitmer stated that she wanted to go over policy and procedure and tell the BOCC something that is going wrong in the system as she is seeking feedback from the BOCC.

Whitmer explained that when a new subdivision is created, water quality payments and payments in school lands are a requirement, and those go through the treasurer’s office along with a letter for payment in school lands. The treasurer’s department has no idea about developments or subdivisions and does not know when that money comes in.

Whitmer said, “I was asked by Commissioner Manguso to verify a deposit in payment of school lands and there was no deposit. I started looking around to find the $11,000 and found it was deposited into regular planning fees along with water quality which are incorrect account numbers. That money does not belong to us, but to the East Grand School District.”

She expressed concern there isn’t a way for the treasurer, financial director or the county manager to monitor this money that doesn’t belong to the County, but to EGSD. Whitmer, “If that money is put into the general fund, it will be spent like general fund money. That is what is happening and whether it has happened more than once, I do not know because there is no way for the treasurer to know what subdivisions have been signed and whether that money is deposited correctly.

Whitmer continued, “I can tell you that if I was the school district, I would be extremely upset since that is not general fund money, but money that belongs to the school district. I don’t know what the problem is or how you are dealing with it, but when something like this comes to my attention, it is extremely concerning.”

Another problem was highlighted when Whitmer explained checks are being held past 30 days, which could leave the county vulnerable to theft issues. Whitmer asked the board to come up with a procedure so the checks are collected when signing and approving a subdivision so this mistake doesn’t happen again. She also insisted that a new policy could help the problem so that money is not kept in folders or deposited in incorrect accounts.

Whitmer continued, “What concerns me is that excuses are being made and procedure isn’t being followed. The only reason I bring this up is because when hands changed just recently, there were multiple checks found in folders that were more than 30-60 days old. Something has got to be done and you’ve got to stop making excuses and fix this problem or you are going to have another theft. I am letting you know this because it is still happening, and it’s not being fixed. It’s a simple process. It is not a difficult process. We would be more than happy to help.”

Commissioner Manguso asked if Whitmer could get the deposit and get it into correct EGSD account and asked what could be done to fix the $11,000. Manguso, “You are right. I wanted to verify since I got an email saying it was a done. I just wanted to triple check because that is who I am. I did go down and talk to Tina this morning to make sure those two checks did get deposited and that’s when she found out it was the wrong account. So, can we fix this?” Whitmer explained that it is up to the board and the financial director, Curtis Lange. The money has been deposited in the general fund and the treasurer cannot pull money out of the general fund. Whitmer, “I am sorry and I don’t mean to be so persistent about this, but it has got to be fixed and we have got to stop this. These are the issues that we had before and they are serious issues. They are not simple issues.”

Commissioner Linke, “Thank you. It looks like something that we internally need to fix and work on. I know the manager has heard all this and Curtis has heard all this. We need to make changes and figure out what we need to do.”

Commissioner Manguso asked financial director Lange to fix the problem and give the board verification that it has been fixed. Lange was present and responded that he would do as requested.