COOS COUNTY — For the past seven months, Coos County has failed to publish its monthly vendor reports, which detail the expenses of the county that are $500 or greater.
Thursday morning, The World asked the Coos County Finance Department why the reports had not been published, and the finance department said that it had accidentally overlooked publishing the reports.
“It was just overlooked, I don’t really have any excuses. We’re trying to rectify the situation so it doesn’t happen again,” Coos County Finance director Megan Simms said.
Later that morning the reports for the last seven months were published on the county’s website. It is important to note that the reports were still compiled by finance staff in each respective month, but reports were not published for public viewing on time.
According to Oregon Revised Statute 294.250, a county’s monthly vendor reports are supposed to be published no later than the last day of each month. The county may make the reports available through one of three avenues, which include the internet, at the county court house, or in libraries throughout the county. The county must also post notice each month that the reports are available for review either on the internet, at the county court house, in the local newspaper, or at public libraries.
The list of expenditures must state the names of all vendors, the general purpose of the article or service for which payment is claimed in each bill, and the amount ordered paid.
Each month hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent are by the county on vendors for things like electricity bills, and janitorial services. Any service that costs the county $500 or more must be made public through the Monthly Vendor Reports.
To fix the issue, Simms has now set up calendar reminder so that staff remembers to get vendor reports out at the end of each month.
“I have made some changes. We all have reminders on everybody’s calendar in the office, just to make sure this does get one in the future,” Simms said.
Once a week, the county does an accounts payable report to the Board of Commissioners, who approve the bills that the city owes its vendors. However, that weekly approval doesn’t always correspond with the last day of each month. Once the board approves the accounts payable the finance department has the ability to post these expense reports.
“The accounts payable process is very time consuming and that person also does payroll, which is also time consuming. It’s easy to forget one little step,” Simms said.
Simms was adamant that the county would not get behind on reports again.