Audit: Jefferson County Historical Society Had Internal Control Deficiency

FAIRBURY – The Jefferson County Historical Society was deficient in internal control according to the final report of the Nebraska State Auditor’s Office. An investigation earlier in 2016 raised questions about the society’s bookkeeping, prompting a full audit for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

County Commissioner Gale Pohlmann summarized the final audit’s findings while addressing the Fairbury City Council Tuesday night.

:22     “…that money went.”

The donation in question totaled more than $300,000. Auditors found no proper documentation for a number of donations received, including another donation of $5,000 made in September 2015. The audit found that the society had not kept proper receipts for money received and said that former curator Denise Andersen was in a position “both to perpetrate and conceal errors and irregularities” and had minimal supervision from the board.

The audit report also said the society had inadequate documentation or no documentation for bills paid or wages for the two employees that were paid on a contract basis. The 1099 forms submitted for the two employees also did not agree with the society’s own records. It also showed that many of the records that were kept were done through handwritten notes.

After the initial report in May, a number of concerned residents asked the Jefferson County Commissioners to fire Andersen as curator and freeze funding for the society. Andersen and five board members resigned from their positions in July, including the president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. The remaining board members appointed Phyllis McCown as Interim President and Megan Sothan as Interim Vice President and Curator.

Pohlmann said commissioners met Tuesday morning with McCown and Sothan as well as County Attorney Jeffrey Goltz to determine how to proceed.

:30     “…keep them.”

The full report is available for public viewing on the State Auditor’s website.