Galen Scott

A private auditing service reported mostly good news for Parker County Commissioners Tuesday, noting marked improvements in the county’s financial record keeping.

Kathy Williams, a partner with the Weatherford-based accounting firm Snow, Garrett and Company, confirmed the county’s expenditures and revenue figures from last fiscal year did conform to government auditing standards — considered to be among the report’s most significant findings.

The audit failed to find any material weaknesses in county government’s internal control system for the fiscal year ending in September 2006.

Material weaknesses are exposed when an auditor finds certain internal record keeping practices that allow too much risk for misstatement or fraud.

In an audit of fiscal year 2005, material adjusting entries were necessary to correct balances reported that year for the county’s pooled cash and investment accounts. Also, annual audit data was not reported on time and quarterly internal audits were not being performed.

“It’s a major improvement from previous years, that we don’t have any material weaknesses to report in this letter,” Williams said Tuesday.

However, Williams pointed out quarterly internal audits are still not being performed. The audit’s findings suggest turnover in the County Auditor’s Office are probably at the root of the problem, and a plan of corrective action was attached in the report.

“Overall, this was a much, much better year,” Williams said.

County Judge Mark Riley, chief executive of Parker County, praised the efforts of County Auditor Mike Rhoten, his staff and new County Purchasing Agent Deena Nichols for helping to turn things around.

“This is obviously the result of Mr. Rhoten and his staff,” Riley said. “He has made a lot of positive changes in that office and it shows.”

Last April, Parker County district court judges hired Rhoten, formerly a real estate broker in Willow Park, to replace outgoing County Auditor Shelley Saunders. Rhoten became the fifth auditor to serve Parker County in the last 10 years.