Jonesboro Bookkeeping Amiss, Once Again

A just-released audit of the Town of Jonesboro’s finances reveal that sloppy bookkeeping has once again become a problem. Several years ago, the condition became so severe that auditors were unable to give an opinion on the town’s finances.

Among the issues cited:

Improper Treatment of Town Vehicles

This finding was first reported in 2012. While efforts were made to improve procedures, activity logs were not maintained for all Town vehicles as required by the Town’s Ordinance.

Police Tickets Not Adequately Tracked

This finding was first reported in 2015. In 2015, we reported that records for police tickets did not provide a sufficient audit trail to ensure that all ticket numbers are accounted for and receipts for fines are deposited and properly posted.

Cash Receipt Books Not Properly Maintained

This finding was first reported in 2015. In 2015, pre-numbered cash receipts were not used in order. During the year ended June 30, 2016, new ticket books were purchased and clerks were instructed to use them in order. We were better able to perform a test to account for receipt numbers. However, we noted eight receipt numbers that we could not account for. We selected twenty-five receipt numbers and attempted to trace them to deposits. We were only able to trace nine out of twenty-five receipts to deposits posted in the accounting system. We were unable to complete the test because the deposit summary does not list individual receipts. The deposit summary lists totals for each type of collection such as fines.

Noncompliance with Public Bid Law

This finding was first reported in 2015. During our fiscal year 2015 test of disbursements, we noted one disbursement out of twenty-five disbursements that appeared to have required compliance with the Public Bid Law. The disbursement was for fuel. We noted no bids obtained. The Town spent over $50,000 for fuel during the fiscal year. No bid was obtained for fiscal year 2016 purchases either.

During 2016, the Town purchased a pickup truck for $38,858 for the fire department. The board minutes of August 11, 2015 indicated approval to cash a certificate of deposit to purchase a vehicle to pull fire equipment. The bid specification included “Ford F-250 Super Duty, 2015 SRW 4×4 crew cab XL 156″ WB style side, 6.7L Power Stroke V8 Diesel 6-speed Auto Trans., Exterior shall be Silver Metallic, Interior shall be Cloth” and other detailed specifications. It did not include a statement such as “specifications are used only to denote the quality standard of product desired and that they do not restrict bidders to the specific brand, make, manufacturer, or specification named.” Also, there was no entry in the minutes that indicated that there was only one bid received, the details of the bid, or that the bid was accepted.

The payment of overtime appears to be excessive.

During fiscal year 2016, the Town paid employees for overtime hours a total of $151,838 versus $109,059 in fiscal year 2015. The following is a summary by department of those costs:

Due to the significant amount of overtime pay, we analyzed the cost by employee. Some employees received nearly as much in overtime pay as they did in regular pay. For example, one water department employee received $27,715 in regular pay, including paid time off, and $25,805 in overtime pay. One administrative employee received $39,236 in regular pay, including paid time off, and $13,263 in overtime pay. One street department employee received $30,191 in regular pay, including paid time off, and $10,942 in overtime pay.

Failure to Publish Minutes

The Town did not publish board minutes in the official journal for a period of several months. The June 2015 minutes were published July 23, 2015. We noted no other minutes published from July 23, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

See here the complete report for fiscal year 7/1/15-6/30/16.

12 Responses to “Jonesboro Bookkeeping Amiss, Once Again”

  1. On the Outside Looking In Says:

    Are these holdovers from the previous administration that is taking longer to get straightened out than anticipated or is this “still” going on?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Still going on,lack of supervision.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    did anyone really think it was going to get better? you still have the same ones running the town

  4. Oldman Says:

    Here we go again. I don’t know how to say this in a nice way,but as long as the town is in these people’s care this is what you will have. They do not know how to handle tax payers money,just look at the wages some of them are getting. The old mayors from the towns beginning up to the year 2000 did not operate this way. The town needs somebody that cares if not it will become just a wide spot between Ruston and win field. I would like to see a print out of everybody’s wages but why worry it’s only the taxpayers money,let’s get all we can.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    It’s the mayor fault and he’s not concern with the town affairs ,because he’s only worried about Grambling business.

  6. Jackson ll Says:

    Why should Jonesboro be any different than any other black run town?

  7. Oldman Says:

    ” Don’t worry it’s just the taxpayers money,there is always more “

  8. The old one Says:

    Jonesboro had a lot of trucks and equipment in charley browns auction Saturday. Most were distroyed beyound repair,most looked to have had no maintance what so ever. There were two bucket trucks that were old but with a little tinder loving care they would have been still in use. A tractor with the head missing along with the front end gone. A gradeall that should have been fixed and put back in service. A bulldozer that had a little over 300hrs on it,would probably bring a whole lot less than when new(only a little over 300hrs) why did they buy it and what use did they have for it. They should have hired a dozer not bought one. Jonesboro looks to be no better off than when the last mayor was in office. We need a mayor that knows what he’s doing. Folks,when a small town like Jonesboro is paying someone over $50,000.00 to work in public works,a big something is wrong,that’s $50,000.00 plus retirement,vacation pay and insurance. We need a change don’t you think?

  9. The old one Says:

    But looking on the bright side the last time Jonesboro looked this good was when Mayor Don Essmeier was in office. Main Street looks good,167 bypass is clean looking,the roses are pretty,but is it worth the high cost?

  10. Oldman Says:

    Yes,Don Essmeier was one of the best mayors Jonesboro has ever had,right up there with Richard Zuber. The roses this year were very pretty and downtown is clean,something you did not see when the last mayor was in office. But it looks as if the mayor that’s in office today has a lot to explain about how the town is being run. Like I said “it’s only the taxpayers money”.

    • Billy the Young One Says:

      Oldman you are like just go from one to the other and what you ever done to do beside hate on others. Not a thing.

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