Grand Jury Finds Significant Risks in Public Works Department
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on internal controls, lack of knowledge in the area of finance among some operational managers, and in the use of an outdated and incomplete financial management system that requires departments to write and maintain their own, complementary software.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: