BELLINGHAM - Whatcom County Superior Court is fixing deficiencies in how it handles money, brought to light in the State Auditor's Office audit of the court's practices in 2011.
The three faults found by the state amount to a need for more checks on how money is collected, and more security for received payments. None of the issues will warrant an official audit "finding" - an indication of a more serious lapse - as long as the court is taking steps to correct them.
"They've already started fixing the situation," Auditor's Office spokeswoman Mindy Chambers said.
While there was no evidence any money was missing or misused, the three deficiencies left the court open to the possible loss or misuse of public funds, according to an Auditor's Office letter to the county, dated Dec. 14.
- The court no longer has the same employee collecting payments, receipting them and adjusting payers' accounts. The work all fell to one person after staff cuts, said David Reynolds, director of court administration.
- The Auditor's Office called for more review of past-due accounts. The court will supplement its collections by sending some cases to an outside agency, Reynolds said.
- The court started storing mailed checks securely, per the recommendation of the state.
Superior Court handled $1.4 million in revenue in 2011. The court handles felony criminal, civil, family and juvenile cases.