State Audit "Findings" Pick Out Paperwork Problems For Prosser - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

State Audit "Findings" Pick Out Paperwork Problems For Prosser

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When the State Auditor's Office discovers something not quite up to code in one of their checks they issue what's called a "finding." A few of our local agencies received findings this week. Some of them had their first ever. When the State Auditor's Office discovers something not quite up to code in one of their checks they issue what's called a "finding." A few of our local agencies received findings this week. Some of them had their first ever.
NBCRightNow.com - When the State Auditor's Office discovers something not quite up to code in one of their checks they issue what's called a "finding." A few of our local agencies received findings this week. Some of them had their first ever.

A finding is exactly what you don't want to come from a state audit. It's a public declaration from the state that you're not following the rules. When they're issued the public finds out about it and sometimes it tips us off to corruption in our state. According to some of these groups, these recent findings may be a bit too much.

"The finding was basically a...what it boils down to is a kind of a missed checkbox," explained Paul Warden the Mayor of Prosser.

It comes down to the paperwork. For the State Auditor's Office that paperwork cab be very important paperwork. The City of Prosser is included among a handful of recent finding reports. When a government uses federal funding for things like roadways or like in this case the construction of the water tower, they need to dot their I's and cross their T's.

"What is required to report these and the different boxes you need to check could have been changed," said Matt Miller who works for the State Auditor's Office.

The way in which cities and local governments fill out their paperwork has changed so often that some of these groups are getting these public findings because they just didn't catch some of these changes.

When we asked is it's uncommon for cities to face these findings Warden explained, "Yeah, having a finding is really uncommon. We had one last year, which I really didn't agree with and we have this one this year."

As we previously reported, the Port of Benton faces their first finding ever. Again this was because of paperwork. During construction of the new Walter Clore Culinary Center some employees under one architect firm didn't have their weekly payroll documented. It was just paperwork and no money had been misappropriated. When over a million dollars of federal grants is involved, the state is showing that they take notice to the details.

"Our office's first mission is holding local governments accountable for the use of public resources, but also to try and fulfill the vision of governments delivering higher value at less cost," said Miller.

In the Prosser case the city actually caught their mistake before the auditor's office did and they corrected it right away.

"By word's they're collaborative partners but by actions it's more the watchdog punitive thing. That's my perception," said Warden.

There are ways for the State Auditor's Office to tell these governments about any mistakes without reporting findings like a management letter or an exit note. In these cases the local governments didn't feel their mistakes were worth a public record.
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