Audit finds discrepancies at state agency

A state audit found lapses in accounting and possible misuse of public funds at an agency of which few have heard.  The Department of Examiners of Public Accounts looked at the finances of the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, which oversees the practice of veterinary medicine in the state.     

The audit covered two fiscal years beginning in 2008 and ending in September 2010.  Among the issues auditors found were incomplete records of employee leave.  Auditors also used a sample of receipts from deposits to find that funds were not always deposited in a timely manner.

"A delay in depositing receipts increases the likelihood of loss or misuse of funds," examiners said in the audit. "Additionally, the Board does not have use of the funds until deposit and certification,"

The examiners also found discrepancies in gasoline records for the board's 2006 Chevrolet Blazer.  No fuel purchases were recorded between October 22 and November 30 2008, but the odometer showed more than 1500 miles had been driven.

"This type of discrepancy indicates that improper use of a state-owned vehicle may have occurred," examiners wrote.

Examiners also found the board's former executive director Theresa Chandler used state credit accounts to buy three computers and other items for personal use.   Chandler retired last September around the time the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners moved to Montgomery, after being based in Decatur for decades.

In response to the audit, Chandler wrote she normally deducted the amount of personal purchases from the invoice before submitting the invoice to the comptroller's office for payment.   It is a violation of state law to use state funds to buy items of personal use.

Current Executive Director Tammy Wallace told WSFA 12 News the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners would not comment, because the entire board has not had a chance to discuss the audit's findings.  But board member William Sternerberg of Montgomery said: "It's my understanding that all of the problems with the audit have been taken care of."  He said many of the issues were addressed when the former executive director left.

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