SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- State Auditor Tom Schweich is starting two efforts to launch audits quickly and check whether problems identified in the reviews are corrected. Darrell Moore, a former Greene County prosecuting attorney, will lead both efforts.
Moore is the chief litigation counsel for the auditor’s office. He talked about the new programs at a news conference at the Historic Greene County Courthouse on Thursday.
Both programs are designed to help the auditor’s office hold government accountable.
“The sad thing I've seen is poor, poor accountability,” said Moore.
In the past, Moore says, there have been complaints that the auditor's office takes too long to examine problems and that it can’t enforce recommendations in its audits.
Under the first program, the auditor's office would launch reviews quickly to preserve evidence after credible allegations of fraud, mismanagement and violations of state or federal law. The second effort would monitor how government entities adopt audit recommendations.
In recent years, people in the Ozarks have seen examples of mismanagement and lack of controls in government offices.
One was the theft over several years of nearly $500,000 by a clerk, Rhonda Bateman, at Springfield Municipal Court. That led to an audit of city finances in 2007 and a guilty plea by Bateman, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence.
In the years to follow, investigators say Julia Keithley stole $18,000 from the City of Clever, where she was a clerk. Keithley pleaded guilty in 2008 and is on five years of probation after serving a 120-day shock prison sentence. She’s also supposed to make restitution to Clever.
Last year, State Auditor Susan Montee raised questions about transactions of the former Marionville city clerk and her staff found $17,000 missing from city coffers. No one is charged in that case.
These cases are just a drop in the misappropriations bucket for the state.
“I’m very pleased to announce, I think, very aggressive initiatives by any state auditor’s office,” Moore said.
The big one for Moore is providing follow-up audits in which he would visit with audited agencies after a period of time to see if they have made suggested changes to their reported problems.
“Tom said, ‘I want people to go out and investigate.’ That's what excites me: go to a new place and be more relevant in the lives of people,” Moore said.
The auditor’s office new rapid response team can be called out as soon as allegations of fraud, misappropriation or abuse are credible.
Moore says these new procedures will not require any extra staffing in the state auditor’s office. He says auditors already in place across Missouri will be called in to these follow-ups as needed.----
The Associated Press contributed to this report.