Editorial: Deschutes County demonstrates the need for audits


Deschutes County Auditor David Givan discovered some unnerving problems at the county about a year ago.

The county was undercharging non-county tenants for rent by tens of thousands of dollars a year.

There were insufficient protections in place for cash in the Properties and Facilities Department.

And the day care subsidy per child for Munchkin Manor, a private facility on county property, exceeded the benefit the county employees were getting.

The good thing is that the county uncovered these things all by itself.

The county started an internal audit program in 2002. It was born in the turbid wake of the investigation into former Deschutes County Sheriff Greg Brown for embezzling.

Givan, the county’s auditor since 2002, analyzes how the county uses its money, ensures its programs and checks if they comply with the law.

The county’s audit committee also makes it a practice to go back nine months or so after it has discovered problems to see if they have been fixed.

The county recently issued a follow-up report on the cash-handling, rent and day care issues.

New procedures have been put in place to ensure that the responsibilities for handling money were segregated.

Staff recommended that the county rent out property to non-county tenants at market rates. The commissioners will make the final decision on that policy.

And the county will reconsider its day care policy when the lease for Munchkin Manor’s space is up in 2016.

This work done by the county is no earthshaking achievement. But it is a tale of the sort of responsible management of taxpayer dollars that is a relief to see.