Brita Horn: Story missed facts
Steamboat Springs — I am writing in response to the article titled, “Undersheriff releases documents related to Routt treasurer’s beef over online payments of building fees” printed Wednesday.
While I think the reporter’s attempt to explain county process and procedures was in good faith, a few facts were missing from the story.
Since December 2012, the Routt County Treasurer’s Office has worked diligently to tighten security and eliminate risks to the county’s finances.
Its policies have ranged from simple procedures, such as not sharing log-in information and passwords, more sophisticated accounting software, to various requirements of third-party vendors that help us “follow the money” and ensure taxpayer funds are protected.
As with so many local governments, we have discovered that departments often work in silos and do not share information. In this particular case, I learned in November a county official had established a PayPal account to collect building fees for the county. While I appreciate the enthusiasm of the individual who established the account, the action went against established County Treasurer’s Office policies and procedures to ensure financial safeguards.
The establishment of the PayPal account circumvented the required authorization for third-party accounts, which is required of any payment-processing or accounting software to be utilized by the county. The use of the simple PayPal account could have created issues with, at best, a lack of transparency, and at worst, fraud.
In the coming weeks, I will present a solution to keep this from happening again. In the meantime, it is my job to point out discrepancies with policy and to safeguard the public treasury.
At a time when distrust of government is at an all-time high, we must err on the side of increased public accountability and transparency, not less. Unfortunately, when one challenges the status quo, it disrupts the hornet’s nest of bureaucracy.
Our office has faced continued resistance as we have sought to bring attention to the dire need for further security procedures to protect the people’s interests. We will not be intimidated. We will continue to do our due diligence, and I will continue to do the job I was elected to do.
The Routt County Treasurer’s Office will continue to use leading-edge technology and security protocols to meet all of the strict banking and financial regulations required of us and to keep the people’s funds safe.
Routt County treasurer
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