A bill was introduced this legislative session that would've combined all the financial management of the small boards and commissions into one office overseen by the Department of Finance and Administration......Source: WLBT
Thousands of cosmetologists had their work put on hold through part of 2016 and into early 2017. There was a 7,000 license backlog at the Board of Cosmetology.....Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
The State Auditor's office is looking into the finances of several small boards and commissions around the state. They've discovered a similar pattern that stems from a lack of oversight.
There's been a staffing and policy makeover at the State Board of Cosmetology. That's due, in part, to troubling accounting discovered by the State Auditor in 2017.
Thousands of cosmetologists had their work put on hold through part of 2016 and into early 2017. There was a 7,000 license backlog at the Board of Cosmetology.
An audit uncovered the reason.
It wasn't that the money and applications weren't being received, they weren't being deposited.
"You had good men and women out running their businesses who had applied for renewals or applied for their license and sent their checks, their applications. They'd done everything like they were supposed to," noted Auditor Stacey Pickering. "And because they weren't doing their jobs and they weren't processing these things, they were just sitting in boxes."
In a new statement from the Board of Cosmetology, they say board members were aware of the backlog and questioned the then-executive director.
Still, they weren't aware that receipts and deposits weren't being made. One point they are noting is that only two of the five members were issued a financial demand are still members of the board, but Pickering says liability is placed on those who were board members at the time.
"They have to pay the monies back of money that has been misappropriated, was not properly spent, can't be accounted for, due to lax bookkeeping, all of these factors," added Pickering.
Still, Pickering says the Cosmetology Board is not an isolated example.
"We have all of these small boards and commissions with very limited staff and sometimes a single staff member," he said. "You can't have segregation of duties, checks and balances, and other people looking over other people's responsibilities. That's a culture and an environment, whether intentional or not, that's just ripe for fraud to take place."
A bill was introduced this legislative session that would've combined all the financial management of the small boards and commissions into one office overseen by the Department of Finance and Administration.