Audit committee shines light on money spent in Shelby Co. govern - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Audit committee shines light on money spent in Shelby Co. government

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Shelby County Commission's new audit committee spend Wednesday rooting out mismanagement of taxpayer money.

Mismanagement of taxpayer money in Shelby County courts came under fire when accountant Melvin Burgess was elected to Shelby County Commission in August 2010.

"Misappropriation of money," said Burgess.  "It could lead to a lot of things."

Burgess is the director of internal audit for Memphis City Schools.  When he joined the commission, he formed the audit committee.

"Any audit the administration does, it comes before the audit committee and I look at it," said Burgess.  "We ask questions."

In the past, the audits were not heard before the commission unless a commissioner asked.  Wednesday, clerks of several county offices went before the committee to answer to a second round of audits.

"We want to make sure they're all cleared up," said Burgess.  

The audit committee reviewed its first round of internal audits last year and showed the public that money was missing from Chancery Court, General Sessions was mismanaging funds, and Probate Court was out of date.

The audit committee has been so effective, Shelby County Juvenile Court Clerk Joy Touliatos requested an audit before the county even asked for one.

"It was just an additional audit that I requested myself for them to perform," said Touliatos.

Wednesday, she explained to commissioners why the audit found a slight discrepancy between bank totals and court records.

"The bank sends us statements for us to enter the interest, but until it matures, you can't have the accurate amount in there," said Touliatos.  "So that's what the discrepancy was."

"It's just like your checkbook," said Burgess.  "Your checkbook is like a general ledger, so the bank must agree with what you have on your books."

The sheriff's office also had a blip on their audit.

"The bank reconciliations were not done on a timely basis," said Burgess.  "Since then, they have something in place."

Now, Chancery Court is looking better than ever.

"We just want to make sure taxpayers' money is accounted for and it's being spent right," said Burgess.

Burgess said he put controls in place for the audit committee to continue after he leaves.

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