Sloppy Handling Found In Tulsa ME Audit

Tuesday, January 27th 2009, 10:21 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

UNDATED -- The state recently audited the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office and found some sloppy handling of money and property.  The audit says in the Tulsa ME's location, money was not properly secured.  

It says, "cash and checks are stored in an unlocked cabinet in an unlocked office... could be stolen or lost."     

Auditors recommended the money be kept in a lockbox with only a limited number of people given access to it.  There was also a matter of missing property.

The audit says "three of 11... (digital cameras) could not be located.

The recommendation was to find the missing cameras and appoint one person to do inventory and another to review it, rather than the same person doing both, as it is now.

The board believes it found two of the cameras and says the third was thrown away because it was broken.

The audit also says the office was not doing a good job of protecting the sensitive information like social security numbers and birthdates of people who had died or protecting their property.  The information and property were lying around, visible to pretty much anyone who walked through the office.

In one case, it says, "A bag containing a watch was observed... this room can be accessed by any... staff... and air conditioning repairmen."

The audit recommended the property be inventoried and kept in a safe, with restricted access, plus personal information be kept in one location only, that is restricted.  The audit also expressed concerns about a lack of timely deposits, reconciliation of accounts and issues dealing comp time and state paid for vehicles.

It recommended additional training, a code of ethics, appropriate supervision in all aspects and a more formal background check for employees.

The board agreed to the auditor's recommendations and in some cases, has already made changes.