July 24, 2003

Scotland County Audit Paints Positive Picture Despite Minor Issues

No one likes to hear the word audit (except maybe auditors) but it is a regular occurrence for public bodies such as city and county governments. Scotland County recently underwent an audit of the 2001 and 2002 fiscal years by the office of Missouri State Auditor Claire McCaskill as part of the regularly scheduled state reviews.

The audit was performed by Arthur White & Associates, L.L.C., Certified Public Accountants and was officially filed with the state on June 30. The audit was performed on the special-purpose financial state-ments of various funds main-tained by the county.

Overall the county received a positive report for the two fiscal years, which combined represented more than $5.2 million in expenditures and $5.5 million in revenues that left the county with a positive budget balance of more than $700,000 at the end of the 2002 year. The County Commission indicated it was pleased with the audit results and noted that appropriate steps were being taken to remedy the issues pinpointed by the report.

The county received a positive report with only a few issues of noncompliance with the government auditing standards.

Several issues were strictly record keeping suggestions passed on by the auditors.

State statutes require the county publish an annual financial statement in the local newspaper. The audit noted that the county has published the required statement but indicated the published report did not include all county funds.

The Scotland County Commission took the issue under advisement and noted it would make the necessary efforts to insure all funds are included in the annual financial statement for publication.

The audit also noted that state statutes prohibit local governments from making expenditures beyond the approved budget for the fiscal year. The audit noted that the county has exceeded budgeted amounts in different areas and recommended the county commission not authorize disbursements in excess of budgeted amounts. The report noted that in extenuating circumstances over expenditures are allowable but should be fully documented with the budgets properly amended and then forwarded to the state auditor's office.

Another point raised by the auditors was the control over county disbursements. The auditor noted the county commission uses a single stamp to approve payments. This stamp is easily accessible to the staff of the county clerk's office and while there were absolutely no signs of improprieties it still represented a lack of security.

The audit also noted that invoices were often not approved by the county clerk's office, nor were they cancelled as paid.

The report recommended better controls over cash disbursements and noted the failure to approve invoices, cancel invoices and limit access to the warrant approval stamp increased the risk of errors or irregularities. It went on simply to recommend that the commission either eliminate the stamp and approve warrants by signature or to limit the access to the stamp to only the county commission while also suggesting the county clerk insures that all invoices are signed and canceled appropriately to insure the proper paperwork procedure.

The county officials were in complete agreement with the recommendations.

The final bookkeeping issue related to fixed assets. The county is required to maintain a fixed assets list for all major equipment and property purchases or dispositions. The audit indicated that no purchases have been recorded on the fixed assets list since 1993 nor have any sales of county property been recorded since that time.

The county noted this was an oversight and indicated the list would be brought up to date.

The audit report went on to address the county's purchasing procedures. In particular the report sited several county purchases where there was no documentation or evidence that bids were sought prior to purchases being made.

Under Missouri Statute all purchases that exceed $4,500 are required to be done by bid with documentation being maintained for all vendors from whom bids were requested as well as all following bid information.

The audit noted that more than $225,000 in road rock was purchased without a bid process. Other purchases that did not seem to meet the law include $14,500 in steel beams, $6,080 in road and bridge supplies, $5,900 in truck repairs, $5,460 for courthouse repairs and $9,530 for pipe.

The County Commission countered the issue by noting that the remoteness of the region often limits the county in potential suppliers.

The auditor indicated that if circumstances are deemed to warrant a purchase without a bidding process that the issue must be documented to insure legal compliance.

Other issues reported in the audit included improved computer security as well as a documented policy for payments of expenses incurred by the county's prosecuting attorney's office.

The auditor noted that computer programs controlling property taxes, payroll and disbursement systems are not adequately restricted, meaning personnel in the county clerk, treasurer and collectors offices will be required to utilize passwords to prevent unauthorized access to the materials by other individuals.

The county is working with the software manufacturer to update the systems to include passwords and additional security.

The county also is in the process of securing an annual agreement with the prosecuting attorney's office to determine actual office expenses and the percentage of time the office is used for county business to allow the county to generate an appropriate formula for reimbursement of these costs.

The audit noted that during the 2001 and 2002 year prosecuting attorney Susan Henry's unsupported expense reimbursements were not reported on her W-2 as required by law.

The problem centers around the fact the prosecuting attorney does not maintain an office in the courthouse and throughout the years the number of past prosecuting attorneys have simply operated out of their private law office with the county paying a set allowance for office expenses, including utilities, postage, telephone, library/upkeep, etc. The process has been in place for numerous years but the auditor suggested the payments be based on actual expenditures documented by the office as opposed to a set monthly rate.

The final audit recommendation regarded minutes from the county commission meetings. The report noted that meeting minutes often lacked sufficient detail of discussions and votes taken. Items such as bid solicitations and selections, transfers between funds and various other decisions were not always documented to the fullest degree. Finally the auditor recommended the minutes be prepared in a more timely manner to allow for the documents to be reviewed to insure accuracy.

The county agreed to make efforts to improve the record keeping process for the meetings.

Irritable Jowl Syndrome

I once made a ‘feller’ down around Rutledge, MO so mad, with one of my letters to the editor, that he went into the “Constricting Heaves”, which then caused “Abdominal Vapors”, complicated by “Carbonic Bunions” on his toes! He hopped around for three weeks, like a ‘Frozen Toed Rooster’, until he finally calmed down!

Yes, I seem to have that effect on some folks, especially when I pen one of my well-written, provocative, yet witty, letters to the editor!

Take what happened to my friend (he still is by the way) Chris Feeney, editor of the Memphis Democrat.

Upon reading my recent letter “The Board of One Accord”, Chris had smoke rings coming out of his ears! He went into “Bilious Spleen Vapors”, which then progressed into “Irritable Jowl Syndrome”!

This sad situation got started by the article in the Memphis Democrat “City Marshal Position in Question Following April Election”.

First, let me say at this point, that I have nothing personal against any city council member. And I have NEVER said anything against Bill Holland. I think he is a good man.

I also know, that it isn’t easy, being a city council member, or for that matter the member of a hospital board, school board, or even some church committees. It can be frustrating, and make one feel that it is a thankless job.

I expressed some ‘misgivings’ I had about the article ‘in question’. It just sounded to me like the city council wielded a proverbial “Sword of Damocles” over the position! With the power of the ‘purse strings’ for example, and the example of a past city collector position being done away with by simply defunding the position.

There also seemed to be an inordinate fear of, what candidate, the voters might elect.

Now, if I’ve got it wrong, I apologize. I just don’t know why these things would be alluded to, if not for the purpose of eliminating what the “Board of One Accord” considered to be an obsolete office. Obviously the voters felt differently. The big difference here, is that the county collector position is still an elected office.

Now, back to Chris’s malady of “Irritable Jowl Syndrome”. You never know what he might say next! Downright mean stuff!

I’m ‘gutshot’ over those “Peanut Gallery” remarks Chris! I mean, damn, now everyone thinks of me as being like that “Lounge Lizard” over at the Texas Road House, that just hangs out in the waiting area, gobbling buckets full of peanuts, all the while hurling insults at the paying customers as they come in! Shish! (Actually this could be partly true.)

And, I am still reeling from that “non-resident” tirade of yours Chris! To me, it sounded a lot like Obama’s “You Didn’t Build That” speech. Gosh… you don’t talk like that to the guys on the police department, and they’re not residents of Memphis either.

Furthermore, I’m heartbroken, over those mean comments about my personal hygiene problems. That hurts!

I’ll have you know, that where I grew up, we didn’t even wear shoes or socks all summer! Socks are important to me now.

And, so what, if I do get a “little Gamey” toward the end of the week. I want you to know that I take a bath every Saturday nite, whether I need it or not! (goin’ swimmin’ counts as bath.)

So… you readers oughta tune in next week to see what “slings and arrows of misfortune” ‘mean Chris’ will throw at me, Dave, a poor non-resident of Memphis, who is diligently striving for World Peace and Harmony!

Cipherin‘:

When you add up the votes.

The side that wins, is the one with the most.

“What if it’s a tie?” someone jokes.

Them I’m takin’ the last train to the coast!

At least I’ll still have the Father, Son and Holy Ghost!

Davis M. Burrus

New Replacement Trees Planted by Rutledge School Restoration Society

One more entry has been removed from the bucket list of the Rutledge School Restoration Society. Bob Hunolt, Lonnie Triplett, Oren Erickson, and Leon Trueblood recently rounded up their spades, water buckets, and measuring sticks to get two new American Linden trees planted (exactly as instructions for planting read) in the school yard.

These trees, when fully grown, will graciously replace the ever-popular Ash and Maple trees which, until early spring this year, had graced the school lawn for many decades. It was determined by the utility company the trees were a detriment to the electrical lines, so they had to go.

Thanks to Aaron Dannenhauer, the stumps were removed; and the sawdust from this grinding has appropriately mulched the new trees. The nursery-provided information claims the new trees to be well-adapted to Missouri daily weather change… so with hopes for fast growth, there will be shade on the Rutledge School lawn once again!

Three Teens Hurt When Vehicle Crashes Into Bridge

Three area teenagers were injured in a one-vehicle crash in Schuyler County at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 17th west of Greentop.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Allyssia J. Jackson, 17 of Queen City, was southbound on Ranch Road when she lost control of the 2003 Ford Escape on the gravel and collided with a bridge rail. The vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway, collided with a bridge support and overturned.

Jackson suffered moderate injuries in the crash as did a passenger in the vehicle, Paige A. Humphrey, 15, of Queen City. A second passenger in the car, Cobe J. Coop, 18, of Memphis suffered minor injuries.

Jackson and Humphrey were transported by Schuyler County Ambulance to Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville. Coop was taken by private vehicle to the Kirksville hospital.

The vehicle sustained moderate damage in the accident and was removed from the scene by Lakeside Towing of Memphis.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Schuyler County Ambulance Service and the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office.

Memphis Man Killed in Crash Near Arbela

A Memphis man was killed and another seriously injured in a two vehicle accident over the weekend in rural Scotland County.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Harley D. Stone, 24, of Memphis was killed when the 2015 Polaris Can Am all-terrain vehicle he was driving collided with a pickup truck on a hill crest on County Road 456 west of Arbela.

The Stone vehicle was eastbound when it crested the hill and met at the center of the road a westbound 2001 Dodge truck driven by Christopher M. Chabert, 29, of Memphis.

Stone and a passenger in his vehicle, Jacob A. Blessing, 21, of Memphis both were ejected from the ATV. Stone was pronounced deceased at the scene at 4:40 a.m. by Scotland County Coroner Dr. Jeff Davis. Blessing sustained serious injuries in the crash. He was transported by Scotland County Ambulance to University Hospital in Columbia.

Chabert was not injured in the crash, which occurred at 4:00 a.m. on May 20th. Chabert was ticketed for driving while intoxicated.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by Scotland County Fire and Rescue, Scotland County Ambulance and Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.

SCR-I Band to Make ‘Long March’ to Washington DC to Take Part in National Memorial Day Parade

As residents of a rural school district, Scotland County R-I students are used to long bus rides. However on Thursday, some three dozen SCR-I musicians will be boarding a bus for a trip that will exceed their bus mileage for the year, just one-way.

At 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 24th the Scotland County R-I band, along with support staff, boosters and chaperones will be boarding a charter bus departing the SCR-I high school parking lot bound for Washington D.C. The public is invited to line the road to show the band support on its departure.

“Last minute preparations are well underway as the Marching Tigers are putting on the finishing touches on their performance,” said band Director Nathanial Orr. “You may even hear the band marching around town.”

The trip to the nation’s capital is more than 900 miles, with the group expecting to arrive on the East Coast  in time for lunch on Friday.

After the meal with tour manager Barbara Longnecker at Union Station, the group will take a tour of the U.S. Capitol before enjoying dinner at Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant. That evening the group will be treated to a parade at the Marine Barracks featuring the US Marine Band in full dress uniform.

Saturday will feature a full day of tours including stops at Lafayette Square, the White House and the National Archives Building, home of the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

After lunch they will visit Ford’s Theater where President Lincoln was assassinated before touring Arlington National Cemetery to witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The evening will conclude with tours of the US Air Force and Pentagon 9/11 Memorials, as well as the Jefferson, FDR and Martin Luther King, Jr. memorials.

The nation’s history will be on display again on Sunday as tour members will visit the Lincoln, and Vietnam and Korean War memorials as well as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum before spending the afternoon at the Smithsonian Institution’s museums. The evening will be capped off at the National Memorial Day Concert on the west lawn of the Capitol. The event will broadcast live on PBS.

Finally on Monday, the band members will get to work, participating in the National Memorial Day Parade.

“The band will be performing ‘Colonel Bogey March,’ a tune featured in ‘Bridge over a River Kwai’,” said Orr. “The color guard will be wearing homemade uniforms representing a different branch of the armed services.  Each member of the guard has a connection as parts of the uniform they will be wearing are from the uniform of their family members.”

Orr said the parade will be televised on the Armed Forces Network as well as streamed on YouTube.com, Military.com or NationalMemorialDayParade.com.

“Due to time constraints and commercial breaks, there is no guarantee that SCR-I will be televised,” he said.

Later that evening, the group will visit the World War II Memorial and place a Scotland County High School wreath at the base of the Missouri state marker.

Tuesday, day 6 of the event, will feature a trip to Mount Vernon, before boarding the tour bus at 2 p.m. for the return trip to Memphis. The group is expected to arrive back home Wednesday, May 30th around 9 a.m.

The trip has been made possible through the hard work of the band students and boosters as well as the generous contributions of local supporters. Work began last May after word was received the band had received the honor of participating in the national event. Numerous fundraisers were held over the next 12 months to fully fund the more than $1,000 price tag per band member for the trip.

Larry Gieseke to Address 72nd Annual Memorial Day Services

Larry Gieseke will be the featured speaker on Monday as the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars hosts the 72nd Annual Memorial Day Services on the lawn of the Scotland County Courthouse.

The services will begin at 10 a.m. with Post Commander Lloyd Erickson and program chairman Donnie Middleton welcoming the crowd.

Veterans Floyd C. Baker and Mike Stephenson will perform the traditional wreath placement at the soldiers’ memorial on the southeast side of the courthouse. Fellow serviceman Bill Camp will lead the gathering in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sonny Smyser of the Lancaster Church of Faith  will lead the invocation prior to the performance of the National Anthem by the Memphis Community Players, who will also provide additional patriotic music for the service.

Judge Gary Dial will again have the honor of introducing the service’s guest speaker.

Following Gieseke’s speech, veteran Jamie Parker will sing Sleep Soldier Boy.

Following the benediction by Smyser, the VFW members will present a 21 gun salute before the performance of taps by service member Melinda Briggs with ECHO played by Chris Kempke.

The service is open to the public. In case of inclement weather, the program will be moved indoors at the VFW post.

Fifty-Seven Units of Blood Donated at Spring Blood Drive

The spring community blood drive held on May 8th at the First Baptist Church of Memphis resulted in the donation of fifty-seven units of blood to the American Red Cross. We would like to thank all those who took time out of their busy day to come and donate.

Of the sixty-seven people who came out to donate, five were first-time donors: Laura Carr, Reilly Shoemaker, Luke Triplett, Matthew Woods and Mark Zeiset. May this mark the beginning of a lifelong habit of helping others through this life-saving gift.

The following donors are recognized for reaching their respective donation goals: a one-gallon pin was awarded to Harley D. Saulmon and a two-gallon pin, to Mike M. Blain. Carol McCabe earned a five-gallon pin, Sara Frederick earned a seven-gallon pin, and Bruce Childress was awarded an eight-gallon pin. David M. Ahland earned his fourteen-gallon pin. Way to go, Mike! But, the greatest achievement goes to Larry Riney who has reached 20 gallons, which is equivalent to 160 units of blood. This is the average total amount collected from two of our community blood drives. Thanks, Larry, you are an encouragement to us all and remind us that even one committed person can really make a big difference. Let’s be encouraged by their commitment, knowing that we, too, can make a difference, Congratulations to all these who have reached their respective goals and to all first-time donors. Your much-needed donations are greatly appreciated.

Special thanks are in order to Lighthouse of Faith for their generous supply of homemade cookies, to Community Bank for providing sandwiches, to Pizza Hut for donating free pizzas to student donors and to J’s Food for providing orange juice to all donors. And a very special thank you to all the local Red Cross volunteers for making this event possible by serving food and drinks to donors and providing comfort and support to both the Red Cross workers and all who give. God Bless!

BABY CICERO

Mandi and Chris Cicero, along with sisters, Kara and Alexis, would like to announce the birth of Christina Violet Cicero, born May 2, 2018 at Capital Region Medical Center.  She was born at 3:19 p.m., weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and was 21 ½ inches long.  She is the granddaughter of Wayne and Terri Bulen, Stephanie Cicero, and Kelly Wiles.

BABY BUCKNER-DAVIS

Kira Stark of Kahoka and Dante Davis of Kahoka are the parents of a son, Trevon Land Buckner-Davis, born May 12, 2018 at 8:45 a.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Trevon weighed 6 lbs 8 oz and was 20.5 inches long. Grandparents are Dede Segovia of Kahoka; Steven Stark of Kahoka; Carissa Smith of Keokuk, IA; and Rick Davis of Keokuk, IA.

BABY HILL

Justin and Diana Hill of Bloomfield, IA are the parents of a son, Maverick Gabriel Hill, born May 5, 2018 at 8:06 p.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Maverick weighed 7 lbs 14.8 oz and was 21.5 inches long. Grandparents are Monty and Isle Hill of Bloomfield, IA; Jim and Linda Snowbarger or Marshalltown, IA; and Thomas Upton of Mediapolis, IA.

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