Fernandina Beach News Leader
County audit finds controls lacking
By Benjamin Price, News-Leader
Following the presentation of the 2003-4 audit on Friday, the Nassau County Clerk of Court's office responded to some of the findings.
The audit found the clerk's office "severely lacking in monitoring its internal controls over cash management."
A state law enforcement investigation revealed former clerk's office employee Julie Mixon stole cash from the office for years without detection. Her embezzlement is now believed to have totaled more than $1 million.
In the response, Clerk of Court John Crawford, who replaced Chip Oxley in January, acknowledged this was a "serious problem" under the previous clerk's administration.
He identified several actions and safeguards now in place, including: the assignment of a deputy comptroller to monitor financial policies, procedures and internal controls; formal internal audits; and segregation of all cash handling activities.
The audit also found the court-related budget and "theft expenditure budget" in the general fund were over-expended.
In his response, Crawford said this was because the theft was not discovered until more than 60 days after the 2003-4 budget was approved, and by law it could not be amended.
The lack of a fine and forfeiture fund by the clerk's office was also cited in the audit.
Crawford said this was not established by the former clerk but has since been instituted.