The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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January 31, 2014

State audit criticizes accounting in Jasper County Circuit Court

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Significant weaknesses in accounting procedures and other areas were identified in a recently-completed state audit of the Jasper County Circuit Clerk’s office.

The state audit described the performance of the office as “fair,” under a system that included ratings of excellent, good, fair and poor.

The audit, described as “routine” by state officials, evaluated operations of the office under the supervision of Linda Williams, long-time circuit clerk. She stepped down in late July, about a month after the start of the audit, described as “routine” by state officials. Williams cited health reasons in an e-mail to judges and court officials informing them of her immediate retirement.

Changes have been made in procedures criticized in the audit, according to a response from Melissa Holcomb, who succeeded Williams in the post. Holcomb was named acting circuit clerk by judges in the court soon after Williams stepped down, then was appointed to the office in October by Gov. Jay Nixon.

“We’ve implemented all the recommendations and made all the necessary changes cited in the audit,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb said she felt fortunate that the audit was being completed just as she was named to the post.

“I would have requested an audit,” she said. “I knew some changes needed to be made. The fact that kind of outside review was done before I took over is a great benefit.”

The office oversees record-keeping and finances for associate and circuit courts in the county. Court deposits, fees and bonds totaled more than $4.4 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2012.

 

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