Auditor General spotlights ‘serious deficiencies’ in Navajo County safeguards | Latest News

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HOLBROOK — Lax credit card supervision.

At least $41,000 in gas purchases that didn’t include a vehicle log showing the business purpose of the purchase and the trip.

And a computer system vulnerable to security breaches that would risk disclosure of confidential information and access to the system.

The Arizona Auditor General definitely had some pointed suggests about the county’s financial and IT oversight procedures.

The just released report on Internal Control and Compliance for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020 suggests the county has additional problems beyond the previously disclosed and now-repaid $5,579 in allegedly improper credit card charges by former health director Jeff Lee, who now faces multiple fraud charges.

The audit report obtained by the Independent indicates additional issues with both record-keeping for gas purchases and more importantly, a series of problems with the security of the county’s computer systems.

However, the county has already put in place policy changes to respond to the recommendations in oversight of credit card purchases, gas purchases and IT security.

Assistant County Manager Bryan Layton said “it is important to note that purchasing card mitigation measures and Travel policy changes have been implemented to improve internal controls.”

Moreover, he noted that the audit report spotlighted a lack of documentation of spending for gas, but did not find a case in which the spending wasn’t appropriate.

Layton said employees driving to Phoenix on business or deputies traveling to remote areas of the Navajo Reservation do have to buy gas on the road. “It is necessary in both cases to purchase fuel remotely – and our policy rightly allows this. It is important to note that they did not identify a single case of misuse, rather the issue is focused on the controls needed to detect and prevent misuse.”

Finally, he said the county works constantly to improve computer security. “This will remain a very high priority for the county and we will continue to work with the Arizona Counties Insurance Pool and the professional experts they bring on board to consistently work to reduce our risk.”