Sunday, January 8, 2017

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State comptroller recommends fiscal oversight changes in Liberty Town Court

LIBERTY – A state audit of the Town of Liberty Court’s financial operations from January 1, 2015 through July 22, 2016 found a couple of issues with local court procedures, but the two local justices, Brian Rourke and Harold Bauman, responded with recommendations of their own.

The state comptroller’s audit said the justices allowed the clerk manager to sign all disbursement checks when they should sign them. It also said the justices did not reconcile unpaid tickets between the DMV and court records to ensure defendants’ DMV records are accurate and fines are collected or tickets are referred to the DMV Scofflaw program. The audit said the justices should periodically review and reconcile the DMV pending tickets report to the court records to ensure enforcement, and document the review was performed.

In their written response, Justices Rourke and Bauman wrote that, “Buried in the third paragraph of the Report of Examination of Justice Court Operations it was noted that it was found collections agreed with corresponding liabilities.’ In other words, all monies were accounted for, which is the most important aspect of a justice’s responsibility for court operations.”

As for the audit recommendation that the justices endeavor to sign all disbursement checks when available, as well as review and reconcile the DMV pending ticket report, the audit suggested that the Office of Court Administration include the state comptroller audits as an educational topic offered by the Justice Court Support Resource Center. “If justices must live with them, justices should know about them,” the Liberty jurists wrote.

They told the comptroller’s office they would suggest “that in future reviews of justice courts, the positive aspects [of] a reviewer’s findings be stressed in addition to provisions regarding the management of operations to assure the accountability of monies handled. The justices in the Town of Liberty Court must be doing something right inasmuch as every penny was accounted for.”


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