County Addressing Billing Issues
Health Department, Airport Board Affected
Valley County government is working to fix a problem regarding financial issues said to be discovered in early June and late May. According to county commission meeting minutes for the month of June, billing issues were discovered and brought to the commissioners' attention.
New Valley County Health Department Supervisor Connie Boreson reported that several billings would possibly be rejected due to billings not being sent out for several months. She said the health department also lost out on an immunization grant this year because requirements were not complete.
The minutes reported that county Treasurer Jenny Reinhardt told commissioners that there were a number of old checks found at the health department when downstairs office material was moved upstairs. Checks dating as far back as 2011 were found that had not been deposited. Reinhardt told commissioners that many of the companies were willing to issue new checks, but original checks needed to be located.
A former secretary, Dora Jean Beil, was said to be responsible for the refuse board issues. She also was the airport board secretary and the health department billing clerk. After problems with the health department were realized, investigations on the airport board commenced.
Commissioners contacted the auditors to alert them of the situation. According to the minutes of June 4, Brent Olness of Olness & Associates had no advice for the commissioners, but he said the toughest thing would be catching up by the end of the present fiscal year. They also discussed the hire of a temporary worker to catch them up with billing in the health department.
Airport Board member Daryl Morehouse reported to the commissioners that same day that the board was aware of possible bookkeeping issues and that Choice Aviation billing information had never been received. Choice Aviation still owed the county several thousands of dollars, according to the minutes. The fuel supplier was called the following day and it was found that a couple of bills had not been paid. Airport Manager Lucas Locke said he had been informed about the situation. As a future safeguard, he should begin to receive copies of bills via email to ensure payment.
Airport board members spoke to the commissioners on June 6 and discussed the removal of the secretary from the board. Commissioner Bruce Peterson cautioned that removal had to be done properly and with due process.
Board members said they were concerned with the newly developing airport “venture” and were still looking into the situation.
The minutes for June 10 reported the resignation of Beil as airport board secretary, and it was noted that the county treasurer would be helping until a new secretary is hired. On June 11, the minutes reported the termination of her as billing clerk for the health department due to a reduction in force and budget restructuring.
Peterson commented that the county has been looking to correct the situation and several changes have been made to help improve the health department. He said that after a thorough investigation, it was determined that no fraud or wrongdoing had taken place – and that the work just wasn't getting done.
The Glasgow Courier plans to report on changes in the Valley County Public Health Department and related positive developments.