State Audit Outlines Maury Co. School District's Payroll Problems

Posted at 6:07 PM, Mar 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-08 13:20:20-05

A state audit has revealed the payroll problems that have plagued employees of the Maury County School District employees, checks didn't come on time nor were supplemental premiums paid. 

"Even though deductions were made through the end of the year for supplemental life insurance, cancer, disability, or 403B, that all that money has not been deposited with those policy companies," David Huebner with the Maury County Education Association said in back in January. 

The school district has hired consulting company, VACO, to fix the problems, which are detailed in this year's annual state audit. Among the issues outlined in the school's finance department include a lack of expertise in changing payroll software, a finance director that resigned in December and several positions made open in a four month period. 

"It created sort of a perfect storm that caused this problem," John Dunn with the Tennessee Comptroller's Office said. 

However, the county isn't off the hook either. "We have seen more findings in Maury County this year and we are a little troubled by what we're seeing in Maury County," said Dunn. 

The county's audit findings include inaccurate financial statements, exceeding budgeted appropriations and a number of inaccurate posts to the county's accounting records. "It deals with some of the basic things that a government is responsible for. It's accounting processes, it's management of its financial information, the way it handles pay roll," explained Dunn. 

Maury County does not have a central system for accounting, budgeting and purchasing, which is now a top recommendation by the State.

"Some of the challenges that counties have expressed to us is that it might cost more initially to do a centralized accounting function but we really see it as something that can save the taxpayers money over the long run and hopefully improve the process at any county," said Dunn. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, county leaders have not returned our phone calls and emails. School district officials, however did respond in a statement; 

"We have been addressing payroll since early fall 2016. In December, a national company called VACO was brought in to rectify the situation. MCPS is committed to making sure that the education of its students is the focus instead of issues with payroll," interim Chief Finance Officer Eric Parliament said. "MCPS has created processes and procedures to prevent the situation from occurring again and properly qualified personnel will be hired and training provided."

“It is the hope of all Maury County educators that the county will take these audit findings seriously and work to ensure these issues are corrected immediately,” said Maury County Education Association President David Huebner. “The errors in payroll and insurance that our teachers experienced are unacceptable. Many teachers are the breadwinners in their families. Late or inaccurate payroll checks places significant stress on family budgets. It is imperative that the district ensure that these mistakes will never happen again.”