Colón State Auditor: Otero County journey expense reimbursement procedures missing – Alamogordo Every day Information

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Nicole Maxwell, Alamogordo Every day Information

Posted at 10:55 am MT August 1, 2020 | Up to date at 11:02 a.m. PST on August 1, 2020


Trump's cowboys rode by Otero County on Sunday March 22, 2020.

Alamogordo Every day Information

New Mexico State Auditor Brian Colón has stated Otero County's monetary controls are missing and will lead to a waste of public funds.

In a July 31 letter, Colón famous issues with the county's present journey reimbursement procedures and waste monitoring.

The auditor was analyzing county checks after allegations September 2019 journey reimbursement to the Couy Griffin Fee violated state and county coverage.

“The present procedures for reimbursing the county's journey bills will not be systematically adopted by the commissioners and the monitoring appears inadequate. Failure to set the suitable “tone on the prime” with respect to inside controls may consequence within the waste, fraud or abuse of county funds, ”the letter stated.

The county had 30 days to reply with an in depth corrective plan "setting out what actions the county has taken or plans to take to deal with these points."

Otero was considered one of two entities to obtain such a letter. Town of Albuquerque has additionally acquired a warning in regards to the waste of public funds.

Learn the Auditor's Letter to Otero County right here.

Griffin's journey raises purple flags

On September 12, 2019, Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin traveled to Washington, DC from New Mexico to attend a Western States Convention in a automobile employees and towed a horse trailer. It was reimbursed by Otero County for $ three,237.48.

The identical journey value Commissioner Lori Bies $ 1,094.40.

The State Auditor's Workplace (OSA) opened an investigation on Oct. 22 into refunds made to Griffin that didn’t comply with state rules and county insurance policies governing refunds to staff. public officers for official journey.

“After reviewing the social media posts and movies associated to Commissioner Griffin's journey, it seems that three or 4 days of Commissioner Griffin's journey, the place $ 215 a day was paid by the county every day, are days when it seems the county associated affairs weren't performed, ”the letter states.

Learn extra: Otero County assertion on journey coverage violations has not been launched attributable to commissioner disagreement

Within the letter, Colón identifies instances the place the controls that may have detected the error have been ignored or not adopted.

The auditor's workplace discovered that the county doesn’t have a coverage for pre-approval of journey and reimbursement insurance policies – significantly a coverage both / or for mileage and per diem – weren’t being met and the predefined journey budgets set in county coverage have been exceeded. The letter additionally notes that whereas the reimbursement request was questioned, it was finally accepted and paid.

Within the specific case of the reimbursement to Griffin, the Workplace of the Auditor concluded that Griffin was the one individual to signal their very own reimbursement examine.

Colón cites the legislation on authorities conduct and urged the county to make sure that its coverage conforms to the authorized and moral parameters set by legislation.

“Elected officers ought to by no means use their positions of energy and authority to usurp management,” Colon stated within the letter. “As public servants, we should maintain ourselves to the very best requirements by making certain that the religion, belief and funds of the general public are managed with the utmost care. diligence and care. "

The refund was returned to the county by Griffin, however he stated these funds have been the results of a donation from an nameless native businessman.

Colón notes the failure of corrective measures

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In November 2019, Otero County rejected a movement for a decision to make clear the county's journey and spending coverage.

The measure, proposed by Bies, failed as a result of she abstained from voting, and Griffin after which Fee Vice-Chairman Gerald Matherly voted in opposition to.

Extra: Fee rejects decision to make clear official journey coverage and prices

"The OSA was upset to be taught of this failed decision because it gave the impression to be geared towards the mandatory preventive inside controls," Colón's letter learn.

The auditor urged county leaders to rethink the problem and take into account different checks "to guard the correct use of county funds."

Nicole Maxwell may be reached by e mail at, by cellphone at 575-415-6605 or on Twitter at @nicmaxreporter.

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