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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, April 16, 2015

NorCo Council Questions Barron's Credit Card Audit

Northampton County has issued credit cards to 129 employees who made over $900,000 in purchases during the twelve-month period ending June 30, 2014. There were nearly 4,400 transactions. Most have a $500 credit limit. But when Controller Steve Barron recently audited this program, he only looked at a random sampling of 35 transactions to determine if anything is amiss. "That's less than one per cent," remarked Glenn Geissinger. He and Bob Werner both question whether there should be more scrutiny.

Barron explained that the random sampling number of 35 is what is recommended for that number of transactions.

"To me, that number seems low," protested Geissinger. Barron stated that, in addition to looking at a sample of 35 transactions, auditors also look at accounts where credit limits have increased. He also indicated that procurement reviews purchases as they are made. But he did criticize supervisors for failing to review and approve purchases. His audit found that only 34% of all purchases were formally approved by a supervisor.

In the 35 transactions that Barron did review, he found minimal problems like missing receipts in one instance and a failure to make three phone calls to get quotes for one purchase that was over $1,000.

In Barron's audit, he also discovered that two recently terminated employees still had active credit cards, though there was no activity on the cards. "That was handled and fixed immediately," he advised Council.

Updated 11:30 am: Barron has explained that the number of transactions reviewed ins determined by government auditing standards (often referred to as the yellow book). "We are governed by them and we are reviewed every three years to assure we are following them and always get top ratings," he explains.


Anonymous said...

Bernie do you think this practice will trickle down to the Municipal Level?

Bernie O'Hare said...

What practice? I am sorry but don't understand your question.

Anonymous said...

Auditing Twp credit cards like at the County level?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Now I understand. I believe that is done by the twp external auditors, but will try to find out.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:41, Barron has an answer to your question. "[S]mall boroughs and townships that have credit cards often have very few controls over them. When the borough clerk of Stockertown was stealing from a Boy Scout troop I alerted their auditors and they found she was also using the borough credit card as if it was her own.

"Places like Bethlehem Twsp have better controls than smaller municipalities, but it's something that should be watched closely."