JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Office of the State Auditor has conducted a compliance audit and released a management report for the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners. The report details findings related to the current board members, former executive director, and several other employees.
The audit revealed many alarming management practices. Below is a list of the findings:
• The executive director of the agency operates with nearly complete autonomy due to effectively no oversight being exercised by the board of directors.
• Many instances of noncompliance with state law related to travel card purchases and reimbursements for travel were found.
• Board meeting minutes were not properly approved, signed, or posted in several instances.
• Payments for contracted services and commodities were processed incorrectly.
• Cash and check payments received for licenses were not deposited in a timely fashion, which could lead to fraud and abuse. A log of cash receipts was not kept, which allowed cash to remain unattended in the office for three months.
• Several instances of unauthorized and excessive amounts of compensatory leave were awarded to the former executive director and deputy executive director.
• Multiple employees received insurance coverage which differed from the coverage plan indicated in Statewide Personnel and Human Resource System filings.
“What we found at the Dental Board is an example of particularly bad management. The staff at the board failed the follow proper procedures when making purchases, failed to separate purchasing duties (which can lead to fraud), held cash that should have been deposited for too long, failed to follow proper bookkeeping procedures, and accumulated excessive comp time. We also found some evidence that the staff was allowed to consume alcohol during work hours. This is not acceptable. My understanding is that the Dental Board is searching for new leadership, as the previous two executive directors have been fired or resigned. Going forward, the board needs to choose its director carefully and then engage in closer oversight of the staff. The taxpayers and licensees funding the board deserve better. I also hope this audit reminds the boards of other small agencies to take a closer look at how those agencies are being run and to engage in closer oversight if necessary.”
The audit report suggested that board members act to strengthen oversight over the agency and improve procedures to increase accountability and ensure compliance with state law. The full report can be found online at the Auditor’s website.