More than seven months after it was announced, the Missouri auditor’s office review of operations in Jackson County is about to start. The county’s COMBAT program will be among the first things examined, and it’s likely to be months before citizens see any results.
“At this point, the scope is not fully determined,” Todd Schuler, Kansas City area audit manager for the Missouri State Auditor's office, told county legislators on Tuesday.
Jackson County is a large operation with a budget of more than $300 million a year. The auditor’s office is expected to look at several areas.
“I anticipate that there will be more than one official audit report,” Schuler said, adding that the first report won’t come until “well into 2019” and the last could come in 2020. County officials get to see the results and have their responses incorporated into the reports that are released to the public.
Schuler mentioned COMBAT repeatedly. That’s the $23-million-a-year program, paid for through a longstanding quarter-cent sales tax, that supports a wide range of efforts to stop drugs and violence. He said the auditor’s office would be looking at money coming in and oversight.
County Executive Frank White Jr. had asked State Auditor Nicole Galloway’s office for a overall review in early 2018, and a majority of the County Legislature did the same in late February. Galloway’s office in April said it would do the audit, but this week’s briefing of the Legislature was the first public action since then.
Galloway was re-elected by Missouri voters last week.
This is not a financial audit but instead what’s called a performance audit. That means a look at such things as procurement, spending, contracts, management decisions and compliance with both state law and the County Charter.
“We’re big on internal controls,” Schuler said.
While stressing that the auditor’s office isn’t looking into every citizen’s individual and specific issue with the county, if citizens have concerns about county operations, they can call 800-347-8597 or 573-751-4213.
“There’s no limit to the concerns or the areas that people would like us to take a look at,” Schuler said.