Grand Jury Finds Significant Risks in Public Works Department

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Source: Santa Barbara County Grand Jury

The 2017-18 Santa Barbara County Grand Jury received a request for investigation about the County of Santa Barbara’s system of internal controls following the fraud perpetrated in the Department of Public Works that came to light in 2017.  The Grand Jury of the County of Santa Barbara conducted an investigation into the internal controls of the County and the risks they pose to public finance.  The Jury reviewed public documents from the County, including Consolidated Annual Financial Reports from various years, and interviewed officials from the principal departments.

Despite the clean audit opinions on the finances of the County of Santa Barbara provided over many years by independent auditors, the 2017-18 Santa Barbara County Jury found significant residual risks to the County’s finances.  These risks were in the areas of promulgating and applying guidelines for financial management, especially those on internal controls, lack of knowledge in the area of finance among some operational managers, and in the use of an outdated and incomplete financial management system that requires departments to write and maintain their own, complementary software.  Many of these failures may have contributed to a $2 Million embezzlement by a County of Santa Barbara employee in 2017.

The full report is below:

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Lorax Jun 23, 2018 04:51 PM
Grand Jury Finds Significant Risks in Public Works Department

Mis-manegement and acounting scandles using our tax payers money! This is the department that is waiving the flag in front of City Council with the 12 million + project to widen the Historic Mission Canyon Bridge that the majority of the community is against . Join the push back please sign and pass along to others email or facebook. http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/help-us-save-the-historic?source=c.em&r_by=10300915

PitMix Jun 21, 2018 08:18 AM
Grand Jury Finds Significant Risks in Public Works Department

We just elected a new auditor who was part of the problem, and I never heard how she planned to make sure the 2M fraud never happened again. There have been enough significant frauds discovered in our local governments (including SBPD police dept embezzlement) to make you wonder how many more they are not finding. Especially since we don't have a newspaper or a TV station willing to do any investigative reporting. And since there are no consequences for anyone in management in the groups where the fraud is occurring. My partner runs a small nonprofit and gets audited for a week every year. Why isn't there the same accountability at these places with much larger budgets? And if the auditors didn't uncover the fraud, it's time to get new auditors.

Factotum Jun 21, 2018 09:44 AM
Grand Jury Finds Significant Risks in Public Works Department

This is not an auditing problem. This is not a few million dollar problem. This is an out of control voter and elected public officials problem , who have been putting the self-interested employee unions on both sides of the public employee bargaining table for too long.

rustydad Jun 21, 2018 08:16 AM
Grand Jury Finds Significant Risks in Public Works Department

While poor accounting practices is a major issue it pales compared to the utter mis-management in the Solid Waste Division. Spending tens of millions of dollars seeking to permit a 200 million dollar boondoggle trash conversion system that will never be realized in order to keep their Gaviota Coast landfill from filling up and closing is the real **** in the punch bowl.

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