A State audit of the Taylor County Community of Conway shows there were more than $32,500 in questionable payments made to the former City Clerk. The report released today by State Auditor David Vaudt covers the period October 24th, 2002 through March 8th, 2011. The special investigation was requested by City officials as a result of alleged misappropriations of City funds by former City Clerk Nicole Paul. Vaudt said the special investigation identified $32,575.47 of improper and unsupported disbursements.
Improper disbursements amounting to just under $32,100 include just over $19,900 worth of payroll and reimbursements issued to Nicole Paul. The improper disbursements also include slightly more than $4,000 in checks Paul allegedly issued from the City’s checking account for cash and money orders, nearly $7,500 worth of checks issued for other improper disbursements, and almost $673 worth of late fees. The unsupported disbursements of approximately $491 were payments issued to various vendors.
Vaudt reported it was not possible to determine if additional amounts were improperly disbursed or if any collections were not properly deposited because adequate records for disbursements and receipts were not available. The report includes recommendations to strengthen the City’s internal controls and overall operations, such as improving segregation of duties, performing bank reconciliations, requiring adequate documentation to support disbursements and performing an independent review of bank statements.
In addition, Vaudt recommended all disbursements be approved by the City Council and the City adopt a policy for purchases which may not meet the test of public purpose, such as flowers and bakery items. Copies of the report have been filed with the Taylor County Attorney’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office and the Division of Criminal Investigation.