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Audit of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources reveals two areas of fault

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

State Auditor Mike Harmon found fault in two areas in an audit of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

According to one finding in the report released on Monday, the department failed to transfer funds from outside bank accounts to Kentucky’s state treasury in a timely manner.  In one case, the money was not deposited for 263 days.

A state audit revealed two areas of fault with the Kentucky Wildlife Department.of Fish and Wildlife Resources. (Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Department photo)

Some of the funds in the outside accounts came from camp fees generated at Camp Webb, Camp Wallace and Camp Currie, and also from the Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area and Ballard Quota Hunt Fees.  This finding was a repeat finding from the Fiscal Year 2017 audit of KDFWR.

KDFWR responded to the finding saying, “The Department agrees that receipts for all applications fees should be deposited timely, regardless of background check requirements. Since the previous year’s audit report, KDFWR has changed the process and all checks are deposited when received. The background check requirements are still in effect and refunds will be issued when needed. The two checks listed were prior to this change for the fiscal year.”

They also responded, “The delay in processing receipts for Otter Creek was due to severely limited staff resources there and lack of cross training as retirements/leave of absences occurred. The issue was compounded with staffing loss in Administrative Services. Based upon the cash handling policy, an exception from the Finance and Administration Cabinet and/or Kentucky State Treasury should have been requested and a more timely resolution been placed. The updated procedure for Otter Creek now conforms to state law.”

The second finding states KDFWR failed to reconcile sales of hunting and fishing licenses and permits to Kentucky’s state government accounting system known as eMARS. Tracking data provided by KDFWR identified a shortfall of more than $20,700 compared to KDFWR’s sales tracking software during FY 18.  This is also a repeat finding from the Fiscal Year 2017 report.

Fish and Wildlife officials responded, “License receipts are received by the department in a number of ways dependent upon the type of vendor and the receiving agent. Procedures have been in place to reconcile the majority of receipts as documents are processed in eMARS. KDFWR agrees that a concise, timely reconciliation of all methods must be generated monthly. KDFWR has hired staff whose duties include developing and reconciling outside systems to eMARS. The reconciliation process will be documented in a standard operating procedure.”

According to the audit, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, KDFWR handled over $31.1 million in license fees and other revenue.

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