Editor’s note: This is the seventh installment of an ongoing series taking a detailed look at the recently released audit for the town of Mannsville, spanning from July 11, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2015. Previous parts of the series are available at Ardmoreite.com.

The audit for the town of Mannsville reviewed general and petty cash expenditures, including but not limited to proper authorization and board approvals. The following is a detailed look at the first half of this section of the audit.

• Shonda Barnes did not appear to maintain town records in regards to expenditures and petty cash as required by statute. On numerous occasions supporting documentation was missing and at times no purchase orders were provided to support transactions.
According to the audit, state statute required the town to keep records of all purchases for a period of at least 5 years. SA&I staff noted that purchasing documents were often disorganized and that the boxes were mislabeled and at times did not include complete sets of records. The audit found that there was no evidence provided to confirm that required records to support
expenditures were maintained “as required by statute.”

• Numerous purchase orders were not completed, precluding the ability to determine when the document was created, encumbered or approved. It was represented by town treasurer Shonda Barnes that some purchase orders had be “recreated.”
According to the audit findings, Barnes stated that she had instructed office staff to recreate some missing or unlocated purchase orders, though auditors were unable to determine if the records available were the original documents or had be recreated. The audit also notes that several purchase orders were not complete.

• Purchase orders exceeding $500 were not approved by the board prior to being issued or paid, as required by town policy.
According to the audit, Mannsville had an ordinance in place requiring all contracts or purchases orders exceeding $500 to require prior approval from the town board. Audit findings however found that purchases were made prior to approval and later brought before the board for approval.

• None of the 25 purchase orders reviewed during general expenditure testing had been signed or approved by the board.

• Between March 2012 and Dec. 2015, the town spent $14,483.07 at Bill’s Cafe and the Donut Hole on meal and food purchases in possible violation of law.
During the initial review of documents it was noted that two purchases were documented as “inmate lunches.” The audit notes that the feeding of inmates was “a violation of the town’s contract with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.” The audit also notes that the expenditures may have also violated statutes which prohibit any officer charged with the safekeeping of public funds from converting any public money or property to their own use or the use of any other person.

• Invoices appear to have been created for Bill’s Cafe, a private vendor, on the town’s computer.
The audit states that records show invoices were created on the town computer that included the names of the proprietor or employee of Bill’s Cafe. Velin Barnes and Kyla Barnes, the names listed, are the ex-husband and daughter of Shonda Barnes. The audit notes a possible violation of statute as a result of the action.

• The MPWA bank issued Visa debit card was used to purchase more than $350 in online, automatically renewing subscriptions. The purchases appear to have appeared to have no official purpose and were not approved by the board.
The purchases are noted in the audit as initially being made on “a free trial basis” but were not canceled after the trial period. The subscriptions were for peoplesmart.com and ultraforclosure.com. According to the audit, Barnes stated that Peoplesmart.com was a service used to do background checks on employees, while ultraforclosure.com was used to search for foreclosed homes or properties. The audit notes that no records were available showing the board had approved the purchases.

• Debit card transactions were improperly recorded in the town bookkeeping software and did not appear to be reported by the board.
The audit states that transactions for peoplesmart.com appeared to be improperly labeled, missing or in some cases reported as account transfers instead of debit transactions. The subscription was also entered under 2 different vendor names.

• A background check was performed on former volunteer fire chief Blake Hartwell, a year after he was removed from his volunteer position, and for no apparent municipal purpose.
The audit reports that evidence showed that the peoplesmart.com subscription was used to perform a background on Hartwell and charged to the MPWA’s debit card, though no evidence was provided to show that the search was performed for a municipal purpose or approved by the board.