Department audits considered by county

Staff reporter

Marion County may approve cutting edge auditing practices.

The commission reviewed information Monday provided by the county auditor, Scot Loyd of Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd.

Loyd suggested the commission approve funding for internal audits of the county departments. The audits would be random and would look at the performance of the department rather than financial purposes.

Internal audits are done in federal, state, and larger counties, Loyd said, but could be beneficial for Marion County.

Various models are available for the commission to consider. The commission was clear that the purpose was not to have "witch hunts" but a way to assist department heads in managing their departments.

"This is the cutting edge of where the profession is going," Loyd said. "If you step forward and (do this) . . . you won't want to go back."

In other business:

— County employees will have Dec. 31, 2008, as a normal work day. The commission reviewed the holidays for 2008. New Year's Eve will be on a Wednesday which will be treated as a normal work day.

The majority of county employees who responded to a survey regarding having Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas as a holiday, the majority opted to take Dec. 25 and Dec. 26, Thursday and Friday, in 2008.

Discussion followed regarding the day the courthouse was closed, Dec. 12, because of the weather. Other employees — road and bridge, transfer station, communications, and sheriff's department — worked a full day.

"There shouldn't be any additional compensation expected," commission chairman Randy Dallke said.

County clerk Carol Maggard said that in the past county employees received compensatory time for those days.

"When the courthouse closed, (courthouse) employees can use a vacation day or a day without pay," Dallke said.

"Employees don't have a choice when the courthouse is closed," commissioner Dan Holub said, but agreed with Dallke that when businesses close because of the weather or no electrical power, employees don't expect to get paid.

Maggard suggested the commission look at each situation individually.

"We don't want to cheat the employees," Dallke said, "and we don't want to cheat taxpayers."