Okaloosa commissioner wants internal auditor

Published: Monday, December 10, 2012 at 17:36 PM.

Windes said county officials are researching the idea of an internal auditor and that he’s eager to find out if it’s legal for one to report directly to commissioners.

“To me, the utmost duty of the commissioner is to take care of the people’s money,” he said. “Be a good steward. How is one little auditor guy, within the purview of one office that we can’t get into basically, how’s he going to take care of all of it? We’ve just got to get in there.”

Howard agrees that more scrutiny is needed, but said his office didn’t drop the ball during the Bellinger fraud scheme.

“It was my finance office that actually discovered the problem when the boat was acquired,” he said. “When we received the title to this boat, we were quite stunned. …   Would we have been happier if it had been discovered earlier? Absolutely.”

At the time, Bellinger was a department head with purchasing authority, and was adept at writing vague invoices that included all the necessary signatures, Howard said.

“There’s no question that there needs to be better controls and security, but I’m not so sure it’s in the area of finance and accounting … as much as it is in policies and procedures,” Howard said.

Howard said he would be willing to expand his one-person auditing staff, but that it will take money currently not budgeted.



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