Nearly a year after an audit of the Manatee County Animal Services division found some incorrect practices, an investigation follow-up will be conducted to see if they have been corrected.
In an email sent Monday to county officials, the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller’s Office notified of the upcoming Animal Services follow-up audit.
Lori Stephens, the office’s director of internal audits, said staff members haven’t started the follow-up audit yet.
“We will go out and check back out on those areas to see whether they’ve implemented anything to improve that,” she said. “It’s a normal process. We are letting everyone know we are coming out. When we finish it, we will issue a report on what we found.”
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The audit, which was completed by the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller’s Office on March 31, 2016, found incorrect practices related to employee time cards and vaccinations at the Palmetto shelter, 305 25th St. W.
“A lot of it has already been addressed,” Bob Smith, the county’s public safety director, said last year.
In an email sent Monday, Smith said requests submitted for the fiscal year 2018-19 budget will “help address this,” adding that Animal Services Chief Sarah Brown “is in the process of some internal reorganizations that will also help.”
“We are pretty comfortable that we addressed everything in there either before the report came out or since then,” Smith said Thursday afternoon.
Allegations made by former Animal Services shelter manager Beth Lewis, who was fired in July 2015, prompted the audit.
The audit found issues in the areas of “tracking, reporting and monitoring time” as well as “intake vaccinations.” Five recommendations were made at the time relating to time cards while two recommendations were given in respect to the vaccinations.
While the bulk of the audit was completed prior to when management of the Animal Services division returned to the public safety department in October 2015, Smith said last spring that the findings reinforced a lot of the corrective measures that have been put in place since the change in management.
“That was good confirmation that we were at least looking in the right places and turning over the right stone,” Smith said at the time.”My biggest message is the fact that we addressed things as soon as they came to our attention even before the audit came out and the things that we will need to work on, we are already working on. It really was good for us. It helps address some shortcomings.”