Harlan County Sheriff’s Office audit released

Published 2:57 pm Friday, October 25, 2019

State Auditor Mike Harmon released the agreed-upon procedures (AUP) engagement of Harlan County Sheriff Leslie “Smitty” Smith in a recent press release, stating the sheriff applied and received the engagement for 2018.

According to the press release, state law requires the auditor to annually audit the accounts of each county sheriff. In compliance with the law, the auditor issues two sheriff’s report each year: One reporting on the sheriff’s tax account and the other reporting on the fee account used to run the office.

The Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation in 2018 to allow county sheriffs and clerks that met certain criteria to apply for an AUP engagement in lieu of an audit of their fee account, per Harmon’s request. This was used to help reduce audit costs for sheriffs and clerks that have a history of clean audits, while still maintaining an appropriate level of accountability.

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AUP reports present the procedures performed and the results of those procedures, which are called “findings.” Smith agreed to auditors’ procedures on receipts and disbursements, excess fees, record-keeping and leases, contracts and liabilities for the period of Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2018.

One exception was identified during the AUP engagement, stating the sheriff prepared an annual asset forfeiture report; however, it did not include guns and vehicles that had been seized. Assets were traced to bank deposits, receipt ledger or asset ledger with the exception of guns and vehicles that had been seized. Amounts owed to the commonwealth attorney were remitted, as stated in the press release.

Smith’s response read, “In the past, we had always listed items on the annual asset forfeiture report only after the items had actually been forfeited by the court. This discrepancy has since been corrected and will be closely monitored when preparing future reports.”

The sheriff’s responsibilities include collecting property taxes, providing law enforcement and performing services for the county fiscal court and courts of justice. The sheriff’s office is funded through statutory commissions and fees collected in conjunction with these duties.

The Harlan County sheriff’s agreed-upon report can be found on the auditor’s website.