Thefts of Douglas County property under investigation | SierraSun.com

Thefts of Douglas County property under investigation

Staff Report
editor@recordcourier.com

Douglas County officials revealed Thursday, Sept. 28, that they have been investigating thefts of tires and other possible improprieties in the Public Works Department over the past seven months.

A criminal investigation was initiated in March by the Nevada Division of Investigation. Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson also initiated an internal investigation into the matter. Both investigations are ongoing. By law, all information obtained during the internal investigation will remain confidential. The criminal investigation will be made available once the investigation is completed and the matter is reviewed for prosecution.

In response to the initial allegations, the County has taken, or is taking, the following steps:

■ Conducted an internal audit and inventory of purchased tires;

■ Immediately strengthened internal financial controls to provide additional security;

■ Retained a northern Nevada accounting firm to conduct a complete inventory of tires and other supplies used in the operations and maintenance of county vehicles and to assist in determining the amount of the frauds committed against the County; also, to identify ways to prevent similar types of frauds in the future.

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■ Retained a national accounting firm to assist the County in creating a Fraud, Waste and Abuse Program so that employees and members of the public will have the ability to report suspected fraud, waste or abuse in a confidential and easily accessible manner;

■ In the process of evaluating options for a more robust internal audit function to operate in conjunction with the Fraud, Waste and Abuse Program;

■ In the process of working with the County’s Technology Services Department to identify any deficiencies or flaws within the county’s electronic systems as it relates to the tracking of inventory.

■ In the process of reviewing the county code and administrative policies and procedures on whistleblower protections for the purpose of bringing forward changes to the code, policies and procedures in conformity with existing labor and employment laws and to ensure that the County has a strong Whistleblower Protection Program.

■ In the process of preparing training for all county employees on ethics in government and what will become the updated Whistleblower Protection Program.