• Audit finds lack of oversight at Murray County's 911 center

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    SULPHUR, Okla. (AP) - Financial supervision of a 911 emergency call center in a southeastern Oklahoma county was so lax that governing board members once gave a $65,000 check to a company that was only required to be paid $650, according to a state audit.

    Inspectors said the Murray County 911 Trust Authority board took almost two months to correct the error. Murray County is about 85 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.

    The authority received over $1.1 million during the audit period, which was from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2017.

    Auditors said receipts and other supporting information "could not be provided for $5,730.25 of the $13,892 of expenditures made on the authority's credit card," The Oklahoman reported.

    State law mandates public entities to deposit funds daily or no later than the following banking day.

    Auditors stated that Gary Ligon, a former 911 director for Murray County, regularly held deposits for days, weeks, and sometimes months after receiving funds. Ligon was supplied with a vehicle to use and was allowed fuel expenses in the performance of his duties, but auditors added they could find no mileage log that would allow them to determine what fuel expenditures were job-related.

    The newspaper's attempts to reach Ligon for comment were unsuccessful.

    The authority failed to maintain comprehensive financial records that the state law mandated, the auditors said.

    "More than 700,000 deleted files were recovered by the OSBI (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation) from Ligon's computer and three other computer storage devices," but those files did not include complete financial information, bank records, or meeting minutes of all dealings during the audit period, the report said.

    Auditors added that "the authority did not file annual budgets with Murray County and did not obtain audits, both required by law."

    Inspectors noted the board's lack of management when they advised that county commissioners consider having all revenues and expenses handled through the county.

    Craig Ladd, district attorney for Murray County, said Friday that he has not yet read the audit report, but that he and an assistant prosecutor for Murray County intend to evaluate it sometime next week.

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    Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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